Wednesday, 24 March 2010

DFA lauds partners in helping build new consular facility

MANILA, Philippines – The head of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) expressed his gratitude to other government agencies that continue to contribute in the improvement of its consular services.

"We have modernized our consular services through the assistance of key government agencies that helped us in this effort," DFA Secretary Alberto Romulo said.

Romulo cited the DFA’s partners like Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Development Bank of the Philippines and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

The DBP, he said, provided the DFA with the lease purchase agreement for the new Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of Consular Affairs building, and the DPWH has assisted in the construction of the facility.

He added that this laudable assistance made it even possible for the DFA to better serve Filipinos.

"They do not need to come to Manila to get a passport or avail of consular services. Instead, they could just go to any of our regional consular offices throughout the country and foreign embassies and consulates around the world to avail of the same efficient and comfortable services. We are even bringing our services closer to the Filipino people, as we have mobile passport services going to the barangays and municipalities," said Romulo.

On Monday, Romulo led the formal inauguration of the new building which will be the home of the ePassport, the electronic authentication system, the electronic visa system, and digitalized consular records system.

With him during the formal opening were retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, former Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Commission on Audit Chairman Reynaldo Villar, DBP Chairperson (DBP) Patricia Sto. Tomas, and Mrs. Rosie Lovely Romulo.

Also present during the event were Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito Roque, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration chief Carmelita Dimzon, members of the BSP-Monetary Board, members of the diplomatic and consular corps, DFA officials and other guests.

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

Meanwhile, the DFA reminds passport applicants to avail of the appointment system to ensure quick and comfortable service. Applicants can check the passport requirements and secure an appointment visiting or calling hotline (02) 737-1000. They may also call the DFA helplines at telephone numbers (02) 831-8971, (02) 551-4437, (02) 551-4402, (02) 834-4855 and (02) 834-4424.

Applicants are no longer required to bring photographs since they will have their pictures taken using ePassport data-capturing machines.

Only those with confirmed appointments will be accommodated at the new facility at this time.

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