Sunday, 21 February 2010

No more humiliation for Filipino travelers—DFA


MANILA, Philippines—The new machine readable passport and the now the ePassport will mean the end of the days of humiliation for Filipino travelers at immigration centers in airports worldwide, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo said.

Previously, the manually prepared passports caused Filipino travelers to be taken aside from immigration queues and questioned lengthily about their identities and their passports.

At the recent turnover ceremonies of the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of Consular Affairs building, Romulo said: "When we were issuing green passports, other countries were already issuing International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao)-compliant passports. It was like being back in the Middle Ages. Now, we are one of the 60 countries now issuing the Icao-compliant MRP and ePassports."

Romulo said the new consular building completes the fulfillment of his dream for a world-class passport and consular building.

"In this intelligent building, instead of sweltering heat, our consular clients will be greeted with cool air at the moment they enter our doors. Instead of monobloc chairs, they will wait their turn sitting on ergonomically-designed stainless steel benches.

Instead of long queues, they can shorten their wait by accessing our online appointment system. Instead of going from building to building, they only need to move from ground to second floor," he added.

He said that DFA-OCA personnel will also enjoy the convenience of modern work stations, furniture, and equipment.

The new building is part of the ongoing modernization program undertaken by Romulo to further improve the DFA's frontline services which include harnessing new technologies in passport and visa issuances and streamlined procedures in the authentication of documents.

"Now, we have a passport and a consular building that is efficient, progressive and serviceable, and will give every Filipino ease, comfort and pride. With everyone's support, the Filipino can be truly world-class," Romulo added.

Also present during the turnover ceremonies were Development Bank of the Philippines President Patricia Sto. Tomas; John Kenneth Ocampo, owner and contractor of the building; representatives from the diplomatic and consular corps and other government agencies; and DFA officials.

During the event, awards, and citations were also conferred on individuals who contributed to the successful implementation of the MRP, the ePassport, and the construction of the new DFA building.

Conferred with the Gawad Mabini with the rank of Grand Cross (Dakilang Kamanong) was DFA-OCA Executive Director Eleanor Jaucian. Also conferred with Gawad Mabini with the rank of Commander (Dakilang Kasugo) were DFA Office of the Secretary Special Assistant Flerida Ann Camille P. Mayo, former DFA-OCA Passport Director Donna Celeste F. Gatmaitan, and DFA-OCA Principal Assistant Fernando Beup Jr.

The Gawad Mabini is the highest honor given to Filipino diplomats.

Citations were given to the following: Ocampo, DFA-OCA Consular Records Division Director Jocelyn Morales, DFA-OCA Authentication Division Director Luzviminda van Opstal, DFA-Adminstrative Service Unit's Angelita Aguilar, DFA Management and Information Service Division Director Patrick John Hilado, former DFA-OCA Acting Executive Director Lourdes Tabamo, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Director Emmanuel Cuntapay, and DPWH Engineers Bayani G. David, Joselito P. Gonzales, Lamberto Bonifacio, and Louie Molina.

The new facility is located at the corner of Bradco and Macapagal Avenues in Aseana Business Park, Paranaque City, a few minutes away from the Mall of Asia.

The acquisition of the P530-million, 7,000-square meter, and four-story building was realized with the assistance of the DBP.

The new facility will be the home of the ePassport, the electronic authentication system, the electronic visa system, and digitalized consular records system.

An intelligent building, the facility is equipped with fiber-optic lines, CCTV cameras, and other high-tech information and communications infrastructure. Made of tempered glass and steel, the modern OCA office departs from the traditional concrete buildings.

To ensure quick, comfortable service, passport applicants are advised to check the passport requirements and secure an online appointment at (consular tab), or to call the consular help-line number (02-556-0000) or DFA telephone number (02-834-4000). Applications may also be filed with the DFA's 19 Regional Consular and satellite offices.

1 comment:

  1. no humiliation?? i have a blurred birth certificate and they refuse to give me a passport.. i have already gave them an LCR copy and still they want me to file a petition on my first name... how can the NSO correct a correct entry? the local registar alsop refuses to give me a petition? they told me that DFA makes them a liar... is that a no humiliation policy?