MANILA — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday announced that two consular offices in Northern Luzon are scheduled to open this May to bring passport and other consular services closer to applicants.
The DFA said it will open a consular office in Ilocos Norte on May 8 and another in Isabela on May 15.
The new offices will be located at Robinsons Place in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte and Robinsons Place in Santiago, Isabela, both of which will operate from Monday to Saturday.
The opening of new offices comes on the heels of the recent reopening of the DFA Consular Office Tacloban in Robinsons Mall North Abucay on April 21.
“The DFA is committed to make its passport and other consular services more accessible to our people. The opening of these two consular offices is a firm example of that commitment,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement.
“The new locations promise more convenient and comfortable passport application, especially for clients within the area and the nearby provinces who will now experience the improvements that we are making in the passport application system,” he added.
DFA Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Frank Cimafranca said passport production increased by nearly 20 percent last year.
The increase was a big jump from the 1.89 percent increase in 2016 and the .054 percent increase in 2015.
Cimafranca said that with the high demand for passports, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Executive Order No. 45, allowing the DFA to open additional consular offices.
With the budget given by Congress this year, the DFA will open six more consular offices in different regions in the coming months, he said.
The DFA has been implementing measures to cope with the high demand for passports, especially after the rollout of passports valid for 10 years.
These measures include the daily deployment of four Passport on Wheels vans; rendition of Saturday work in DFA Aseana office; and increasing the daily capacity of consular offices.
Also included was the expansion of courtesy lanes to various sectors from government employees to children aged seven and below, solo parents, overseas Filipino workers, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and visibly pregnant women. Joyce Ann Rocamora/PNA-northboundasia.com