Glitches delay release of passports-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Friday, March 18, 2011
DELAYS in passport releases, which started last month, still hound the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) regional consular offices.
DFA officer-in-charge Grace Clavecillas appealed for understanding from the public on the agency’s delays because of technical concerns and surge of demands for E-Passports.
“We apologize for the inconvenience caused by the delays, especially on our overseas Filipino workers, but we would like to assure the public that we are exerting our best efforts to resolve the issues as soon as possible,” Clavecillas said.
She added that the agency is working hard to ensure those with urgent travel, especially OFWs, are accommodated.
She also requested those with immediate travel plans to defer their applications until the situation has normalized.
Those with expiring passports who cannot forego travel may also opt for an extension of the validity of their existing passports instead of applying for renewal.
Clavecillas said the delay in passport releases is primarily due to the result of maintenance work and upgrades on equipment in the E-Passport Personalization Central at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) facility in Quezon City.
This coincided with the seasonal increase in passport applications as Filipinos are preparing for travel abroad this summer, Clavecillas added.
The DFA has been working closely with the BSP to resolve the issue as they also assured they will be able to reduce waiting period in the coming weeks.
Meantime, applicants would have to wait an additional 10 working days before their passports could be released.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 19, 2011.