MANILA — A technical working group (TWG) of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs has approved and consolidated 22 bills, all seeking to lengthen the validity of the Philippine passport to 10 years for adults and five years for minors.
In a statement on Thursday, Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who chairs the TWG, said it is not the intention of the authors of the bills to introduce any other amendment to the Philippine Passport Law (Republic Act No. 8239), but only to lengthen the passport’s validity.
The former Chief Executive said the present five-year passport validity “is rather too short given the tedious process and cost it requires to obtain or renew a passport.”
ACTS-OFW Partylist Rep. Ancieto Bertiz III and Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil have expressed their support for the amendment.
Under Section 10 of R.A. 8239, the passport is valid for a period of five years, regardless of the age of the applicant.
With the amendment approved by the TWG, the provision of the said law will extend to five years the validity of passports of minors, aged zero to 17 years old. For passports of adults, or those 18 years old and above, the validity shall be 10 years.
The present law refers to passport as “a document issued by the Philippine government to its citizens and requesting other governments to allow its citizens to pass safely and freely, and in case of need to give him/her all lawful aid and protection.”
The consolidated bill will be presented to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs chaired by Bulacan Rep. Linabelle Ruth Villarica during its next hearing. Filane Mikey Cervantes/PNA – northboundasia.com