Passport holders welcome 10-yr validity plan

BAGUIO CITY -– Baguio City residents who frequently travel abroad welcome the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte in his State of the Nation Address on Monday with regard extending the validity of Philippine passports from five to 10 years.

Rodrigo Magsino Jr., a businessman, on Thursday said once the plan is implemented, Filipinos will not have to worry anymore that their passports will expire while they are in another country.

Although a Filipino may be able to renew his passport in any Philippine consular office or embassy abroad, Magsino said, “access may be a different story.”

Magsino travels to the United States of America (USA) either on a business trip or for medical reasons and says he does not have the convenience of time.

On Monday, July 25, President Duterte, in his first SONA, asked the members of the 17th Congress to extend the validity of the Philippine passport.

“On the clamor of our citizens for timely issuance of Philippine passports, the government shall work towards amendment of the 1996 Passport Law to lengthen the validity of the passports from the current 5 years to 10 years.

“Tutal kayo naman ang maggagawa ng batas, you are the ones who will pass the law, even if you make it good for 30 years, okay ako,” the President said.

Aubrey Joy Razo, a first time passport applicant, observed that other applicants are now demanding for the 10-year passport validity since the President’s SONA.

Razo, however, appreciates the efforts of the employees of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) – Regional Consular office in Baguio City in explaining that the 10-year passport validity will not be immediately implemented because “papalitan po muna ng mga congressman ang batas” (the Congressmen will still have to amend the law).

On June 24, the DFA Regional Consular Office in Baguio City implemented the On-line Passport Application and Appointment System.

The on-line processing included providing personal information and contact details, choosing a schedule for personal appearance and personal appearance.

This was a good innovation for both Baguio City resident and non-resident applicants who will be able to avoid the long queue.

Senior citizens (SCs), persons with disabilities (PWDs), pregnant women and minor children 7 years old and below are excluded from the appointment system.

The passport application of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) will be accommodated without a scheduled appointment by presenting a valid employment contract and other supporting documents.

Those applying for the replacement of their lost valid passport may also proceed directly to the Information Desk without an appointment.

At present, passport applicants are able to get their passports within 10 and 21 working days from the date of application. Jojo Lamaria/PNAnorthboundasia.com