I’m not the current administration’s biggest fan, but I do admire their efforts to revamp the passport application and renewal process.
First, additional appointments opened up after a government-owned printing facility uncovered a syndicate that was reserving slots in bulk and then selling them off. About a month into 2018, they began releasing Philippine passports with ten-year validity periods. Not long after that, the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) Aseana office began opening its doors to passport applicants on Saturdays.
On April 13, public advisory on the DFA website announced the live-testing of the Passport E-Payment Facility at its Aseana office. In preparation for its official launch nationwide, all appointments scheduled for the aforementioned branch will require prepayment starting Saturday, 14 April 2018.
“When you enter your details sa (into the) appointment system, you would be made to pay,” Assistant Secretary Frank Cimafranca of the Office of Consular Affairs told ABS-CBN News, “Bago tanggapin yung application mo (Before your application is finalized), you will have to pay upfront. So you cannot avail of the appointment unless you pay.”
According to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, prepayment can be made via the e-payment facility, which allows passport applicants to settle the processing fee through banks or other authorized platforms.
This new development was meant to make the application or renewal process faster and more convenient, as well as to deter fixers from hoarding scheduled slots and then selling them off to applicants. And since payment will be required prior to booking appointments, the rate of people showing up for them is also projected to go up. Assuming that booking fees will be non-refundable, this is likely to be an accurate assessment.
What do you think? Will this prepayment scheme make the process of applying for and renewing passports easier and more efficient for Filipinos in general? Let us know in the comments below.