DFA orders add’l ma­chines to fast track ap­pli­ca­tions

On­line pay­ment sys­tem seen to dis­cour­age ‘no show’ ap­pli­cants

Cebu Daily News - - NEWS - By Jose Santino S. Bu­na­chita RE­PORTER

Cebu-based res­i­dents and those from other parts of the Visayas can ex­pect more ap­point­ment slots for pass­port ap­pli­ca­tions and re­newals to be opened “in a few weeks.”

For­eign Af­fairs Sec­re­tary Alan Pe­ter Cayetano said five new data cap­ture ma­chines (DCMs) will be de­liv­ered to the De­part­ment of For­eign Af­fairs (DFA) Con­sular Of­fice in Cebu, which is lo­cated at the fourth floor of Pa­cific Mall in Mandaue City.

“I'm try­ing to de­liver five ma­chines kaa­gad (im­me­di­ately) so at least 50 per­cent yung pag- add ng (to be added to) ca­pac­ity,” he told re­porters dur­ing his visit to Cebu last week.

He said the ad­di­tional ma­chines were al­ready or­dered but had yet to be pro­cured and pro­grammed prior to de­liv­ery.

Cayetano said he vis­ited the DFA con­sular of­fice in Cebu last week and saw that the area is big enough to ac­com­mo­date the ma­chines.

There are 10 sta­tions with DCMs at the con­sular of­fice with each sta­tion de­signed to pro­duce be­tween 80 to 100 pass­ports a day or a com­bined ca­pac­ity of 800 to 1,000 pass­ports daily.

But Cayetano said he found out that they are only able to pro­duce a lit­tle over 500 pass­ports a day.

Once the ad­di­tional five DCMs ar­rive, Cayetano said the DFA con­sular of­fice in Cebu can pro­duce an ad­di­tional 400 to 500 pass­ports a day.

This would mean ad­di­tional slots equal to the num­ber of pass­ports that can be ac­com­mo­dated in a day.

Cayetano said the DFA will also field sev­eral vans for their pass­port-on-wheels pro­gram all over the coun­try.

Cayetano said they ex­pect to roll out five vans in Lu­zon, five in the Visayas, and an­other five in Min­danao.

Each van will have five ma- chines that can process be­tween 400 to 500 pass­ports a day.

Of the eight ad­di­tional con­sular of­fices that the DFA plans to open this year, only two have opened so far.

Once the other of­fices are opened, Cayetano said more slots can also be opened.

“We are do­ing that not only here but also abroad for our over­seas work­ers. Hope­fully, be­fore the end of the year, you can feel that it’s much bet­ter,” he said.

The gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to im­ple­ment a 10-year va­lid­ity of pass­ports early this year and the avail­abil­ity of cheap flights re­sulted in a huge surge of ap- pli­ca­tions and re­newals in DFA’s con­sular of­fices.

In re­sponse to this, Cayetano said they set up an e-pay­ment sys­tem for pass­port ap­pli­ca­tions and re­newals to off­set the “no-show” rate of ap­pli­cants who se­cure on­line ap­point­ments but fail to show up at the con­sular of­fice.

Cayetano said those se­cur­ing ap­point­ments will have to pay on­line and will not be re­funded if they failed to show up un­less they pre­sent a valid rea­son.

Cayetano said the on­line pay­ment sys­tem launches in Manila this month and else­where in the coun­try in Au­gust.

CDN FILE PHOTO

Pro­cure­ment of ad­di­tional data ma­chines is ex­pected to re­duce the long lines of ap­pli­cants that wait for hours at the DFA con­sular of­fice in a lo­cal mall in Cebu City.

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