Tuesday, 12 January 2010

DFA opens new passport building

Veronica Uy

MANILA, Philippines—Instead of queuing through the basketball court, annex, and then the auditorium of the Department of Foreign Affairs, applicants for new passports and those renewing their old passports will soon be able to get their travel documents faster at a new consular P530-million building.

With the soft opening of the DFA consular building at Aseana Business Park on Macapagal Avenue corner Bradco Avenue in Paranaque City, near the SM Mall of Asia, the DFA announced its acquisition of the 7,000-square meter, four-story building made of tempered glass and steel.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Renato Villapando, head of the DFA Office of the Consular Affairs, said the facility is targeted to be open to the public within the first quarter of the year.

When this happens, the new facility will become the home of the e-Passport, the electronic authentication system, the electronic visa system, and digitalized consular records system.

Equipped with fiber-optic lines, closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, and other high-tech communications infrastructure, the purchase of the new building is part of the department’s modernization program. This follows the launch of the e-Passport last August 11.

Since August 11, the DFA has issued 18,000 e-Passports. And from January to November 2009, it has issued a total of 2,192,177 passports.

DFA Secretary Alberto Romulo said the new facility is intended to make the front-line service of providing passports “easy and convenient” for all Filipinos, and at par with those of developed countries.

DFA Undersecretary for Administration Franklin Ebdalin said the building was purchased at the cost of P530 million amortized in 15 years through a lease-purchase agreement with the help of the Development Bank of the Philippines.

In preparation for the eventual transfer of the consular office, passport applicants are advised to complete their passport requirements and secure an online appointment at the DFA website (the consular tab), or by calling the consular helpline number (02-556-0000) and the DFA telephone number (02-834-4000). Applications may also be filed with the DFA’s 19 regional consular and satellite offices.

1 comment:

  1. It seems a great system for DFA. Avoiding over crowded in their department. But why it took long for just appointment and also the releasing it took 20 days aside from that the cost of passport become doubled. What is this? Mas masarap pa yung dating sistema na siksikan tulukan pero hindi tatagal ng ganyan ang pag-aapply hanggang sa releasing. pupunta ka nga lang ng maaga at hindi ganito katagal ang releasing at hindi ganito kamahal. Bad trip itong DFA na ito, imbes na tumulong pinagkakitaan pa talaga ng mabuti ang gustong magbanat ng buto sa ibang bansa para mabuhay ang pamilya nila. Hindi kami mamasyal sa ibang bansa o magpapasarap. Magbabanat kami ng buto para sa pamilya namin. Sana ang pagbabago ng sistema ay para maging progreso hindi para maging makupad. Kaya nga may sistema para mapabilis at mapaganda ang serbisyo. Ito ibang klase, sistema na para kumita lang ang mga hinayufak na nakaupo sa pwesto. Maayos nga, napakabagal naman ng pagproseso. Anong klase sistema ito?