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Friday, June 21, 2024

New law sets passporting reforms

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A NEW law enacted recently by President Marcos mandates the Department of Foreign Affairs to put up special lanes for the seamless processing of passports of senior citizens, persons with disabilities (PWDs), solo parents, pregnant women, children seven years old and below, as well as overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte on Friday revealed that under Republic Act 11983 or the New Philippine Passport Act, the DFA is mandated to work with pertinent government agencies to establish an Online Application Portal and an Electronic One-Stop Shop on the agency’s website.

The online services will make it more convenient for Filipinos to submit requirements in applying for new passports or renewing their old or expiring ones.

Villafuerte, a co-author of the new law, said the DFA is also tasked to provide off-site and mobile passport services in areas outside of its consular offices and foreign service posts.

The lawmaker added that the new law also mandates the DFA to arrange accommodations for regular passport applications of Muslim Filipinos who are taking part in the annual Hajj pilgrimage. 

This will be for a period of four months, starting from the date indicated in the official request by the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) for the would-be pilgrims.

For the renewal of passports by applicants who are 60 and above and by OFWs, Villafuerte said the law directs the DFA to “implement a system wherein the applicants may submit their applications without the need for them to physically appear in the Office of Consular Affairs or any Consular Office, through the use of available technology.”

Villafuerte said that in keeping with this new law’s objective of ensuring seamless processing of passports, RA 11983 provides for the establishment of special lanes exclusively for senior citizens, PWDs, solo parents, pregnant women, minors aged seven-years-old and below, solo parents, along with OFWs and individuals with emergency and exceptional cases.

He added that the new law also mandates the DFA to arrange accommodations for regular passport applications of Muslim Filipinos who are taking part in the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which shall be for a period of four months, starting from the date indicated in the official request by the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) for the would-be pilgrims.

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