MORE than four million people in Eastern Visayas will have access to better consular services with the opening of the Department of Foreign Affairs new regional office in Tacloban.
The DFA announced Friday the inauguration of the consular office at Robinson’s Mall North in Abucay would be today.
It will officially be open to serve the public starting noon immediately after the inauguration.
“The regional consular office’s new location promises a more convenient and comfortable passport application experience in line with the DFA’s commitment to make the passport application system faster and easier for the public,” Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Frank Cimafranca said.
DFA Tacloban is the first of at least three consular offices hosted in Robinsons Malls to be opened this year.
Two other consular offices will be opened in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte and Santiago, Isabela in the next several weeks.
Cimafranca will represent Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano in the inauguration of the new facility.
Also attending are Tacloban City Mayor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez and Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominic Petilla and Robinsons Land Senior Regional Operations Manager for Cebu and Eastern Visayas Floramie Adolfo Vega.
“The process flow will be seamless so applicants do not have to wait long to process their e-passports,” Cimafranca added. Sara D. Fabunan
The new office will have more processing and bio-metric encoding counters to serve more passport applicants.
Clients will also be able to avail of assistance-to-nationals services at the new consular office.
“Since its transfer to its mall-based location in January, DFA Tacloban has served around 22,000 clients. Our new location has greatly improved the delivery of our services to the public, making it a more comfortable and convenient experience,” DFA Tacloban Acting Officer-in-Charge Dorotea Apostol said.
The DFA’s Tacloban office was originally established on July 13, 2003 as the 11th consular office to be established in the country.
However, after the destruction wrought by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the consular office was forced to suspend its operations. It resumed operations eight months after in July 2014.
The consular office is open from Monday to Saturday.