- The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) releases new advisory concerning passport applications
- No-show applicants will be facing 30-day ban
- 47 percent of people who applied for appointment do not show up
Passport applicants better take note of this as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has disclosed that starting June 1, those who won’t show up on the respective date as per their passport appointment shall be barred from re-applying for a new slot for at least 30 days.
The Foreign Affairs Secretary, Jose Rene Almendras, via ANC Channel’s Headstart program said: “If you don’t show up you’re not going to be able to reserve for 30 days. So please take your reservations seriously.”
This is to prevent further backlog as much time is wasted when scheduled applicants do not show up on their respective appointment dates.
The DFA Secretary explains that such practice of non-appearance results in a two-month waiting period for hundreds of applicants.
The practice of disregarding the schedule obtained from the DFA’s consular division disrupts what should have otherwise been an orderly system — especially that statistics have shown that 47 percent of people who applied for appointment do not show up. It’s nearly half of the total applications.
To think that DFA receives at least 15,000 passport applications daily, Almendras said people complain because it takes two months to take a slot to be interviewed.
In response to this issue, it was thus decided that those who do not show up for their appointment are not allowed to apply for a new slot — for at least one month — and this advisory takes effect starting the first day of June.
No fees are collected in reservation which is probably the reason why applicants can afford to take their slots for granted. Knowing they can easily apply for a new slot online, it seems to have become an abused practice which causes a cycle of delays.
It was disclosed that the Secretary had earlier contemplated imposing a fine for no-show applicants – if only to solve the issue of skipped appointments. However, as no service has been rendered yet, the office was advised against it by the Commission on Audit.
Meanwhile, Almendras is appealing to the people for patience regarding processing time as the DFA is transitioning to a new system in order to accommodate the huge volume of passport applications; saying that:“When you put in a new system there are always challenges but we acknowledge the fact that it has been bumpy.”
Moreover because identity fraud is so rampant, stringent security checks are being done which causes further delay.
Almendras said that double checking is a huge challenge as the integrity of the Philippine passport has to be protected. “The intention is to make the Philippine passport a really respectable identification and that means security check left and right,” he added. Likewise, efforts are being continuously exerted to facilitate the processing of applications to at least one hour.
For the meantime, applicants are advised to please show up on your scheduled passport application appointments to effect a smoother flow in the overall processing.