Monday, 8 March 2010

ePassports only by appointments from March 8

By Veronica Uy
INQUIRER.net http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20100307-257120/ePassports-only-by-appointments-from-March-8

MANILA, Philippines—Starting tomorrow, March 8, all applications for electronic passports (ePassports) will only be accepted and processed via the appointment system at the new consular building on Macapagal Boulevard, the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a news release.

Applicants may set an appointment by going online through its dedicated website (http://www.passport.com.ph/) or by calling 737-1000. Travel agents can secure an appointment at the DFA website (http://dfa.gov.ph/main/) or email at scheduler@dfa-appointment.net. They may also call 834-4961, 834-4855, and 834-3707 for other details.

The new 7,000-square meter, four-story Office of the Consular Affairs (OCA) building is located at the corner of Macapagal Avenue and Bradco Street, Aseana Business Park.

“This appointment system will be strictly implemented to enable DFA to pre-process information submitted in advance by an applicant, thus avoiding long queues, as experienced by walk-in applicants at the DFA-OCA main office in Roxas Boulevard,” OCA Assistant Secretary Renato Villapando said.

He reminded applicants that they are no longer required to bring photographs since they will have their pictures taken using ePassport data capturing machines at DFA-OCA.

However, Villapando said applicants still need to bring other necessary requirements such as the application form that is available for download at the DFA website and at the reception desks of the new consular building.

The OCA chief said the new ePassport technology has built-in capacity to detect fraud by capturing biometrics, signature, and fingerprints of applicants. He also advised applicants to submit only genuine documents.

Meanwhile, to avoid being victimized by fixers, he also advised applicants to deal only with DFA-OCA personnel inside the building. “No escorts are allowed to accompany individual applicants,” he said.

The new OCA building is part of the ongoing modernization program initiated by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto 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.

“It is part of our dream for the Filipino people to have a world-class passport and consular services. We have done it through the Machine-Readable Passport and the ePassport, and now the dream is complete with the new DFA-OCA building,” Romulo said.

1 comment:

  1. Last February 25, my 2 daughters received an acknowledgment re appointment for visa application. It says within 5 days we will be given a schedule for the passport renewal. It is so unfortunate that until now, we have not received our appointment through e-mail. All the contact numbers in DFA is not working hence we could not follow it up. It was only today, April 27, 2010 that we were able to get inside the new DFA -OCA bldg. The male officer we were referred to in the information only gave us a complaint form to my disappointment. We have waited long enough for the appointment. Obviously there had been gaps or problems in their processing of appointments as one of the personnel remarked that the schedule was made in the old building of DFA. We religiously followed the specified steps in filing the passport renewal and so we also expect a more professional way of handling the customers, us , who are also religiously paying our taxes. DFA should have provisions in cases like these. We appreciate the new building where DFA is currently located. However we would appreciate it better if they will provide better services, more professional personnel fitted in handling inquiries/problems related to passport concerns. The long lines outside the building, despite of having an appointed slot is very inconvenient. They should monitor the slot assignment of those who will enter the gate.

    We are hoping for a more improved system in the DFA.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete