Bonjour. Mabuhay.

This doesn’t make sense. How come some Pinoys line up for hours to get a passport and yet never claim them when the time comes?

Kakaibang pag-uugali ata ito. Are you one of these 100,000?

 

‘DOESN’T MAKE SENSE’100,000 passports still unclaimed–DFA

By Jerry E. Esplanada, Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Up to 100,000 passports processed in the past six months have remained unclaimed at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The Office of Consular Affairs (OCA) has no recourse but to cancel and immediately discard passports that remain unclaimed “within six months from their scheduled release dates,” said DFA spokesperson J. Eduardo Malaya.

“That is why we are reminding all passport applicants to claim their passports, if possible, on their scheduled release dates,” Malaya said.

Puzzling

Some OCA employees said they were “puzzled why some applicants go out of their way to secure passports—including lining up at passport processing offices as early as 4 a.m.—but do not bother retrieving the travel documents on their release dates.”

“It just doesn’t make sense,” said one OCA staff member.

Malaya noted that applicants are fully aware that their passports would be released through the receipts that are issued to them.

“They are also informed by consular personnel that the OCA can hold the passports for only a brief period of time after the normal processing period. Nonetheless, many applicants claim their passports after the due date while some forget about the passports altogether,” he said.

Last year, the DFA issued a total of 1,583,183 passports, 677,406 of which were processed at the new OCA building, located at the corner of Macapagal and Bradco avenues in the Aseana Business Park (near the SM Mall of Asia) in Parañaque City.

Fees

Another 733,244 passports were issued by the 18 regional consular offices nationwide while the rest came from the country’s 94 embassies and consulates abroad.

The DFA charges P950, or $21.40, for the regular processing of a passport, which takes 20 working days.

For a fee of P1,200, passport processing can be expedited to only 10 working days.

The same passport, however, would cost $60 (about P2,658) when issued at Philippine diplomatic missions worldwide.

It is “higher because of transport and logistics costs plus the higher rates for personnel services and utilities” in the foreign diplomatic missions, Malaya explained.

Malaya advised overseas Filipino workers to avail of the lower passport fee by getting the travel document in the country.

DFA statistics showed that more than 70 percent of applicants got their passports in Manila and other key cities where the agency’s regional consular offices are based.

Lowest in Asia

The DFA earlier said the Philippine passport processing fee as “one of the lowest in Asia, if not the world.”

The fee is “way below those of other Asian countries, including Japan ($180), Cambodia ($120), Malaysia ($97), Singapore ($52), Brunei Darussalam ($37), and Thailand ($33),” it said.

A Philippine passport also costs much less than its counterparts in the United States ($110) and Canada ($86).

Passport applicants are no longer required to bring photographs when applying for the “ePassport,” which the DFA started issuing in late 2009, since they will have their pictures taken using ePassport data-capturing machines at the processing centers.

Meanwhile, the DFA has announced that passport processing operations will be suspended next Saturday (Jan. 22) for a systems maintenance check.

Passport applicants with scheduled OCA appointments on Jan. 22 will be accommodated for processing on any working day between Jan. 24 and Feb. 17.

If you can’t claim the passport, maybe you should consider passport delivery.

Pinoys are sometimes a puzzling people. Fascinating, yet puzzling.