DFA: 1 ‘express’ day for PWDs

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Saturday, July 19, 2014


THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) designated a day where persons with disabilities (PWDs) will have their own lane and can process their passport application in just an hour.

The country celebrates the 36th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation week from today until the 26th.

In observance of that, DFA announced that a special lane will be dedicated for PWDs on July 23 for application or renewal of passports.

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DFA 7 Director Anika Fernandez said that PWDs will be charged the same passport fee of
P950.

She said there will be no more express lane fee of P250 following the central office’s suspension of the fee last May 23 to cope with the delay in passport production.

Turnaround

Passports are printed and assembled in Manila and the turnaround time is between five and six weeks, Fernandez said.

DFA 7 has an average client volume of 550 people per day.

Fernandez said that the PWDs will be given a priority lane on Wednesday separate from the courtesy lane afforded to seniors and minors.

The entire process is expected to be less than an hour from the moment the applicant steps inside the DFA office.

It covers processing, payment and encoding, the latter taking the most time.

In observance of the national disability week, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 7 recently conducted an employer’s forum to encourage business owners and entrepreneurs to hire PWDs.

DSWD 7 Director Mercedita Jabagat said that as part of their continuing advocacy in promoting the principles and practices on equal participation of PWDs in the society, they urged government agencies and the private sector to hire them especially if they are qualified.

Manpower

In Cebu, Wellmade Corporation owned by businessman Philip N. Tan employed hundreds of PWDs or 50 percent of its manpower requirement.

Tan, also the president of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) and past district secretary of the Rotary International District 3860, said that PWDs are more productive if given the right task.

On the other hand, the Rotary Club of Cebu East will donate sewing machines for the livelihood of more than 100 PWDs in Jagobiao, Mandaue City.

Manuel Opo of the Jagobiao PWD Association said that they will make at least 2,000 rags per week using the sewing machines under a contract with a ready buyer.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 20, 2014.

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