TO SPEED up the processing of passport applications in Central Luzon, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Angeles City Government offered on Monday, January 22, "passporting on wheels" to local residents.
More than 1,400 pre-registered applicants from nearby towns and provinces were served by the mobile passport processing of new applications and renewal.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Allan Peter Cayetano said the DFA is doing its best to augment the influx of passport applications especially in Angeles City, where the biggest number of passport inquiries, requests and processes were recorded.
“With the present atmosphere of technology, the DFA should not close its doors to innovations. We are moving as fast as we can, given the government regulations,” Cayetano said.
Cayateno added that Angeles is the first city outside Metropolitan Manila to have access to the mobile passport application system where DFA deployed a total of three mobile vans capable of capturing and storing 500 passport data applications per machine.
The project also aims to decongest the passport processing of the consular office located at the third floor of MarQuee Mall, as it serves a very large and populous area with people coming from Tarlac, Nueva Ecija and even parts of Pangasinan.
Meanwhile, applicants began to amass at the city’s Legislative Hall as early as 6 a.m. Monday to avoid long queues. The queuing of application went on orderly and peacefully with the assistance of the employees of the City Government.
Zarina Palo, an applicant from Mabalacat City, said she has been trying to book a schedule for the renewal of her passport online. Unfortunately, schedules are already fully-booked until June 2018.
“When I heard about this passport caravan, I rushed to have my name listed because I have plans in mind for this coming vacation. It is indeed a very good action especially to us who are having a hard time booking for schedules online,” said Palo.
Angelita Castro of Angeles City expressed her satisfaction to the speedy and well-organized processing of passport application, saying “it is a proactive move and campaign of the agency and the city.”
At an average, the passport processing time is 30 minutes to less than an hour. Only those who have pre-registered were accommodated. However, the DFA allowed some of the walk-in applicants to have their application processed.
Cayetano said a courtesy lane is dedicated and no appointment booking is required for senior citizens, infants and minors below one year old, visibly pregnant women, and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
OFWs must present sufficient proof such as a valid employment contract.
The DFA will be adding nine more consular offices to be situated in provinces near Metro Manila in the coming years.
Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan lauded the efforts of the DFA in making passport processing services closer to the people.
“Upon completing the target number of application this day, we received reports that there are still numerous walk-in applicants despite our notice that only those who have pre-registered will be accommodated,” Pamintuan said.
“We will request another day for our constituents who did not make it to the cut-off,” he added.
Cayetano said another “passporting on wheels” will be scheduled and set for Angeles City. (PR)