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Oct 11 (1)

If you are still having a hard time getting a passport appointment with the DFA, here’s some good news for you!

The DFA opens at least 10,000 appointment slots daily and you are sure to be able to book one if you go online at the right time.

According to yesterday’s advisory, 5,000 slots are made available at 12:00 noon and another 5,000 at 9:00 p.m. every day.  If you are to choose a DFA branch, it might help to know that the DFA Aseana Consular Office is open even during Saturdays with expanded courtesy lanes for OFWs, Senior Citizens, Solo Parent ID-holders, and PWDs.

There are five more DFA Consular Offices that are set to be opened to accept passport applications and renewals before the end of 2018.

Isn’t that good news?  Now set your alarms to 12:00 noon and 9 p.m. to be reminded of the best times to get an appointment for your passport application!

Source: www.dfa.gov.ph

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Oct 10

Did you know that the LTO regularly updates the requirements for the issuance of a student’s driving permit?  If you are planning on getting one this year, read this.

Eligibility Requirements:

The applicant must be:

  1. At least 17 years old;
  2. Physically and mentally fit to operate a motor vehicle.
  3. Able to read and write in Filipino or English.

Documentary Requirements:

  1. Original and photocopy of PSA birth certificate.
  2. If employed, Taxpayer’s Identification Number (TIN).
  3. Duly accomplished application form for driver’s license (ADL).

If the applicant is below 18 years old, a parent’s or guardian’s written consent is required.  Attach a photocopy of an ID card as proof of identity.  If the parent or guardian is not physically present, the written consent must be notarized.

Procedure:

  1. Proceed to the Customer Service Counter to get your checklist of requirements and secure a Driver’s License Application Form.  This form is downloadable online; you may print and fill out the document before proceeding to the LTO.
  2. Get a queue number and wait for your number to be called.  Proceed to the evaluator counter and submit all the required documents to have it checked for completeness and authenticity.
  3. When your name is called, proceed to the area where your photo and signature will be taken.
  4. Go to the cashier to pay the fees; collect your official receipt (OR).
  5. Proceed to the releasing counter with the OR and claim your student driver’s permit.

Quick tips when going to any government office (such as the LTO):

  1. Avoid going on a Monday and Friday afternoon when offices are usually crowded.
  2. Arrive early.  If the office opens at 8 a.m., be there before 7 a.m.
  3. Bring a pen (so you won’t have to borrow from the office, a stash of crackers and candies, bottled water).
  4. Avoid transacting with fixers.

If you have questions about securing a driver’s license, drop us a line and we will do our best to find the answers for you.

 

Source: www.officialgazette.gov.ph

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Oct 9

We are all familiar with maternity leave but not everyone may be well-versed with paternity leave and benefits.  Some of my guy friends are not even aware that there is such a thing.  So today’s blog will be all about the paternity leave and other benefits that soon-to-be fathers can take advantage of.

Read on!

Maternity Benefits vs. Paternity Benefits

Apart from the fact that maternity only applies to women and paternity, to men, it is also good to know that maternity benefits are honored by the PhilHealth and the Social Security System.  This means that a female member of the PhilHealth and SSS is entitled to certain benefits (leaves and monetary) during and after their pregnancy.  The said government agencies do not have such benefits and privileges reserved for soon-to-be fathers.

What is Paternity Leave?

Philippine laws dictate that male employees shall be allowed a maximum of seven days of paternity leave with full pay.  This includes the employee’s basic salary, monetary benefits, and COLA; this applies to both private and government male employees.

Is the Paternity Leave convertible to cash?

Although the paternity leave is essentially paid because the employee is entitled to all the wages due him for the days that he is on leave, it is not convertible to cash. This means that if the male employee does not apply for a paternity leave in a year, he could not claim that in cash at the end of the year (unlike other types of leaves such as vacation or sick leaves).

What are the eligibilities to avail the paternity leave?

  1. The male employee must have a wife who is pregnant, has given birth, or had a recent miscarriage.
  2. He must be employed at the time of the childbirth (or miscarriage).
  3. The pregnancy or miscarriage has not happened more than four times.
  4. The male employee must be married to his wife and they live in the same address.  Some employers may require you to submit a copy of your marriage certificate.
  5. The male employee must have reported his wife’s pregnancy to his employer, including the expected date of delivery.

When can a male employee apply for paternity leave?

  1. A male employee can claim the paternity benefit before, during, and after his wife’s pregnancy.
  2. He can take one whole week off from work, or seven consecutive days.  He also has the option to take several days off on different dates as long as it does not exceed the 7 days allowable period and all leaves are applied within 60 days after the child’s birth.

Your office may require documentary evidence of your wife’s pregnancy, including copies of her ultrasound and medical records that will prove her pregnancy.  After giving birth, you may be required to submit a copy of your child’s birth certificate as well.  In cases when the pregnancy is unsuccessful (miscarriage), the father may still be required to provide medical proof or a death certificate.  It is best to have these documents processed and made ready at the soonest possible time.

If you have more questions about paternity leaves in the Philippines, drop us a line and we will try our best to find the best answers for you.

Reference: http://www.psahelpline.ph

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Oct 3

Since most (if not all!) first-time job applicants have very limited financial resources to support their job-hunting, the government is now pushing to get the First-time Jobseekers Assistance Act approved and implemented.  This bill seeks to waive the fees and charges on government documents and clearances that are required by offices and establishments from applicants.

When applying for a job, an applicant will be required to submit several documents as proof of their identity, residency, and legal clearance to engage in government or private employment.  These documents are issued with corresponding fees and charges that could be a bit hefty for a jobseeker’s limited budget.  Among these documents are (but not limited to these):

  • Police Clearance Certificate
  • National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Clearance
  • Cedula (Community Tax Certificate)
  • Barangay Clearance
  • Medical Certificate from public hospitals
  • Work Permit (Mayor’s Permit)
  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • TIN
  • UMID

How much do these documents and clearances cost?

  • Police Clearance Certificate – Php 100
  • NBI Clearance – Php 130
  • Health Certificate – Php 300 to Php 500 (depends on the laboratory fees)
  • Work Permit (Mayor’s Permit) – Php 235
  • Pag-IBIG Number – Php 100
  • Birth Certificate – Php 155
  • Marriage Certificate – Php 155

If you are to secure all of the above, you have to at least have Php 1,175 for the documents and clearances alone.  This amount still does not include your food, transportation, printing, and photocopying expenses.

Should the bill be approved and signed into law, the above fees shall be waived and first-time job seekers can secure copies of these documents for free.  They need only to submit the certified true copy of their diplomas or certifications from academic, vocational, or technical institutions.  First-time job seekers include fresh graduates, students on leave from school and out-of-school youth.

The exemption from paying fees and charges may only be given to an individual once and does not include fees in connection with an application for licensure examinations such as those conducted by the Professional Regulation Commission, DFA, document authentication, Civil Service Commission exams, and applications for driver’s licenses.

What do you think of this proposed law?  Let us know!

Source: www.senate.gov.ph

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Oct 1

The long wait is indeed, over!  Today, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announces the shortened releasing period for regular and express passport processing.  This is good news to Pinoy travelers who rely on the speed and efficiency of DFA to produce and deliver their passports on time.

Beginning today, October 1, 2018, passport applicants who pay the regular processing fee of P950 will receive their passports after 12 working days, instead of 15 working days.  If you are in a rush and need to get your passport earlier than 12 days, you can choose the Express Processing option for P1,200 and you can get your passport after 6 working days, instead of the usual 7.

Provincial applications normally take 20 working days for regular processing and 10 working days for the express option.  The DFA has reduced these wait times to 12 working days and 7 working days respectively.

Below is a comprehensive guide lifted from the DFA’s website, for our reference:

passport_releasing_schedule_3

Apart from these updates, the DFA is also working on reducing the wait time for passport applicants who wish to secure online appointment slots.  Their goal is to bring the wait time down to two weeks to a month, instead of the current two to three months waiting period.

For more information on passport applications, authentication, and other consular inquiries, you may call the DFA through the following numbers:

02-556-0000, 02-234-3488, 02-834-3000, 02-834-4000

Source: www.dfa.gov.ph

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Sept 27

Good news to all SSS members!  We can now conveniently access our SSS membership information by simply swiping our phone’s screen and tapping on the SSS mobile app.

How does it work?

  1. Download the SSS Mobile App from Google Play Store (for Android users) and App Store (for Apple users). Your smartphone or tablet must be running on Android 4.4 Kitkat or higher and IOS 8.0 or higher. Downloading and using the mobile app is free of charge.
  2. Mobile users should log in using their existing My.SSS account’s user ID and password. If you still have not created an online SSS account, just tap on the “Register” button located at the mobile app’s sidebar.
  3. You should be connected to the internet through mobile data or wifi connection in order to use the SSS Mobile App.

What information can I access using the SSS mobile app?

You can view the following information when logged into your mobile app:

  1. Contribution status
  2. Sickness
  3. Maternity
  4. Disability and retirement claim information
  5. Employees’ Compensation (EC) Medical status
  6. Salary loan application status and outstanding balance
  7. Location of branch offices
  8. Documentary requirements for SSS membership
  9. Benefit claims application (including funeral and death)
  10. Personal data amendment
  11. UMID card enrollment

Are my information secured now that the mobile app is available to everyone?

Yes.  The SSS assures the public that the SSS Mobile App has its own security features and requires the entry of a user ID and password so that only the account owner would have access to his or her data.

For further information on the SSS Mobile App, you may visit the SSS website at www.sss.gov.ph or call the SSS Call Center Hotline at 02-920-6446 up to 55 or local toll-free number 1-800-10-2255-777.  You may also send an email to onlineserviceassistance@sss.gov.ph.

 

Source: www.sss.gov.ph

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Sept 26

My aunt is a 65-year-old retired private school teacher.  She began receiving her SSS pension almost immediately after her 60th birthday.  Two years into her retirement, she fell ill and needed additional funds for her maintenance medications and regular check-up.  It was then that she was compelled to take on a loan of Php 25,000.00 from a lending company in our area.  The primary requirement of the lending company was for my aunt to surrender her ATM where her SSS pension is credited monthly.

In five days, the loan was granted and my aunt was able to purchase all the medicines she needed to complete her treatment.  However, she now has to go to the lending company’s office every month to claim the portion of her SSS pension – or at least the remaining portion after the lender has deducted her monthly loan amortization, plus a hefty 8% interest.  It was a painful ordeal but at that time, it was my aunt’s only option.

She is happy to know that the SSS has finally launched its SSS Pension Loan Program for pensioners like herself.  This one promises to be more affordable and will be sufficient for short-term needs such as medical expenses, household purchases, and maybe even a quick vacation.

Here are the details of the SSS Pension Loan Program (PLP) that was announced by the SSS last September 3, 2018:

Who are qualified to avail of the SSS Pension Loan Program?

  • SSS pensioners who are 80 years old and below at the end of the month loan term;
  • Must have no outstanding loan balance and benefit overpayment payable to SSS.
  • Does not have advance pension under the SSS Calamity Package
  • Have been receiving their regular monthly pensions for at least six months.

What are the loan amounts?

According to SSS, the minimum loan amount for a qualified pensioner is twice the amount equivalent to their basic monthly pension plus a Php 1,000 benefit.

The maximum loanable amount is six times their basic monthly pension plus an additional Php 1,000 benefit, but must not exceed a total of Php 32,000.00

How much is the interest rate?

An interest of 10% per annum shall be applied on the loan amount until it is fully paid.  This is computed on a diminishing principal balance and shall then become part of the loan’s monthly amortization.

What are the loan repayment terms?

A pensioner may choose to pay for his loan in three, six, or 12 months depending on the multiple of the loan amount.  The loan payments shall be deducted from the monthly pension of the borrower.

Where can pensioners apply for the PLP?

As of this writing, there are 20 SSS branches that are ready to receive PLP applications, these are:

  • Diliman
  • Kalookan
  • Pasig-Pioneer (Shaw)
  • New Panaderos (Mandaluyong)
  • Manila
  • Makati-Gil Puyat
  • Alabang
  • Naga
  • Dagupan
  • Baguio
  • Ilagan
  • Bacoor
  • Binan
  • Cebu
  • Tacloban
  • Iloilo Central
  • Cagayan De Oro
  • Davao
  • General Santos
  • Zamboanga

What are the loan requirements and how do we apply?

  1. The pensioner must personally visit any of the above-mentioned SSS branches. He or she must submit a photocopy of any of the following IDs:
  • Social Security ID
  • Unified Multi-purpose ID card (UMID)
  • Passport
  • Two other valid IDs with identical signatures, at least one of the IDs must bear the pensioners photo.
  1. Get the cash card or quick card of your chosen bank where the loan proceeds will be deposited. You may also enroll your UMID card as an ATM at any branch or kiosk of the Union Bank of the Philippines.
  2. Choose your desired loan amount and loan term.
  3. Review the information and loan details that will be flashed on the screen.
  4. Sign the Pension Loan Assistance Application and Disclosure Statement and submit.

Wait for up to 5 working days from the date of your loan approval for the proceeds to be credited to your cash card or UMID card.

This is definitely good news to our SSS pension followers, especially since the Christmas season is just around the corner!  If you have more questions about the SSS Pension Loan Program, you may call the SSS hotline at 02-920-6446 to 55 or send an email to member_relations@sss.gov.ph

Source: www.sss.gov.ph

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Sept 19

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is anticipated to pilot run the National ID system in December this year, targeting one million Filipinos to be given their very own national ID under the Philippine Identification System.  The national ID shall be honored in both private and government transactions, especially those that require the confirmation of a person’s identity, marital status, birth, and other pertinent personal information.

Application Requirements

All Filipinos residing in and outside the country are encouraged to secure their own national IDs as soon as the government opens its doors for applications.  The only requirement at this point is your PSA birth certificate to be presented during application.  This may be the best time to secure a copy of your birth certificate so you can be first in line when PSA starts accepting ID applications.

You can have your PSA birth certificate delivered to you by ordering online at www.psahelpline.ph.

Quick Facts About the National ID

  • The ID will contain 10 basic information: the owner’s full name, sex, date of birth, place of birth, blood type, address, and citizenship (whether he is a Filipino or an alien).
  • Optional information are: marital status, mobile number, and email addresses.  These are subject to change over time.
  • Biometric information to be collected from the applicant are: front-facing photograph, full set of fingerprints, and iris scan.
  • Parents can register their children for a PhilSys Number (PSN) as soon as the child is issued his birth certificate.  The child’s biometric information will only be captured when he turns five years old and will be repeated by the time he turns 15 to 18 years old.
  • The national ID shall not be considered to replace the Philippine Passport, a Professional Regulation Commission license, and a driver’s license.

The rest of the details of the National ID, its requirements and processes, shall be released to the public as soon as the Implementing Rules and Regulations have been finalized.

Reference: www.psa.gov.ph

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Here are some tips that can help you make the most of your appointment with the DFA for your passport application or renewal.

Before applying for a Philippine passport:

  • All applicants should secure an online appointment when applying for a passport.
  • The public is advised to secure their passports prior to booking their flights.  Flight bookings should only be made if passports are still valid for at least six (6) months.
  • A confirmed appointment is required for all applicants except for those who would qualify for the courtesy lane.
  • Applicants are reminded to be on site not earlier than 30 minutes on their selected date and time of appointment at their chosen consular office.
  • Personal appearance is required for all applicants.
  • Please be warned that dealing with fixers is at your own risk and expense.
  • Prepare all the originals and photocopies of the documentary requirements for passport application.
  • To ensure entry to countries with strict dress codes, all applicants are required to wear decent clothing for passport photo capture.  Plunging necklines, sleeveless clothing, spaghetti strapped tops, see-through tops, sando, tube tops, halters and the like are prohibited.
  • Jewelry such as earrings and necklaces and colored contact lenses are not allowed during photo capturing;
  • The DFA adheres to “No Escort” policy; escorts shall be prohibited from entering the DFA consular premises to accompany the applicants.

After Applying for a Philippine passport:

  • The applicant shall bring the passport receipt for the release of their passport.  In case of lost passport receipt, an Affidavit of Loss is required.
  • Check if all the data on the passport are correct before leaving the Consular Office.
  • For applicants 13 years old and above, immediately affix the signature on the third page of the passport booklet upon receipt of the passport.  For minors 12 years old and below, leave it blank.
  • If the applicant cannot personally claim his/her passport, an immediate family member or an authorized representative shall present an Authorization Letter or a Special Power of Attorney respectively, to claim the passport in behalf of the applicant.  Both documents should contain the name and photocopy of the ID of the authorized individual.
  • Passports unclaimed after one hundred and eighty (180) days will be canceled per Department Order No. 37-03.
  • Do not staple anything on the passport booklet especially the covers as it may damage the electronic chip and render the epassport unreadable.

Source: http://consular.dfa.gov.ph/passport

Sept 12

Securing an appointment with the DFA to apply for a passport or have your old one renewed has proven to be quite a challenge for most.  Good thing the DFA has made courtesy lanes available for certain types of applicants.

Here is the list of requirements in order to be eligible for the DFA’s courtesy lanes:

  1. Senior Citizens (60 years old and over).
  • Senior citizens are allowed one companion.
  • The companion of the senior citizen must be an immediate family member (i.e. spouse, siblings, adult children, adult grandchildren, and children-in-law of the senior citizen and must show proof of relationship.
  • If the companion is not an immediate family member, the companion has to show proof of travel arrangements (e.g. confirmed plane or hotel booking) with the senior citizen to be able to avail of the courtesy lane facility.
  1. People with disabilities (PWDs) with proof of disability.
  • PWD is allowed one (1) companion.
  • The companion of the PWD must be an immediate family member, i.e. spouse, siblings, adult children, adult grandchildren, parents-in-law, and children-in-law of the PWD and must show proof of relationship.
  • If the companion is not an immediate family member, the companion has to show proof of travel arrangements (e.g. confirmed plane or hotel booking) with the PWD to be able to avail of the courtesy lane facility.
  1. Solo parent with valid solo parent card, and his/her minor children.
  2. Minors seven years old and below and his/her parents and minor siblings.
  3. Pregnant women
  • If pregnancy is not visible, the applicant must present medical certificate/records.
  1. Overseas Filipino Workers (Land and Sea-based) with valid proof of status, such as:
  • Valid iDOLE card
  • Valid employment contract
  • Valid work visa
  • Seaman’s book stamped at international border less than 365 days from the date of application.

Senior citizens, PWDs, solo parents, and their minor children, pregnant women, and OFWs have the option to choose from regular or expedited processing of their passport application.

The companion of the senior citizens and PWDs, minors seven years old and below, their parents and minor siblings, are to be assessed expedited processing fee because they are not entitled to use the courtesy lane; they are accommodated for their convenience.

All applications made on Saturdays – whether those entitled to use the Courtesy Lane Facility or those accommodated for their convenience – shall be assessed expedited processing fees based on the relevant provision of the Passport Act.

 

Source: http://consular.dfa.gov.ph

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