DFA makes pass­port pro­cess­ing eas­ier

Tempo - - Comics -

After re­leas­ing thou­sands of ap­point­ment slots to the pub­lic, the Depart­ment of For­eign Af­fairs (DFA) is mak­ing it eas­ier for pass­port ap­pli­cants with fur­ther im­prove­ments in the ap­point­ment sys­tem.

One the new re­forms is a re­design of the ap­point­ment sys­tem that now al­lows ap­pli­cants to see, at first glance, which dates have avail­able slots.

“Now, you don’t need to click on ev­ery date only to find out 60 clicks after that the next avail­able ap­point­ment date is in two months’ time,” said DFA Of­fice of Con­sular Af­fairs Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor An­gel­ica Escalona.

“If you will look at our ap­point­ment web­site, the dates in color red are those that are fully booked. Those that are green are those that have avail­able slots.”

The ap­point­ment sys­tem also now has a feed­back mech­a­nism that en­sures that ap­pli­cants are told if there is a prob­lem with their ap­pli­ca­tion, and what they need to do to re­solve the prob­lem.

“Be­fore, when you ap­plied for a pass­port you were told to pick it up on a sched­uled date. If for some rea­son there was a prob­lem with your ap­pli­ca­tion, like dis­crep­an­cies in the in­for­ma­tion or doc­u­ments that you sub­mit­ted, you wouldn’t know un­til that day when you are sup­posed to pick up the pass­port. There’s no feed­back mech­a­nism,” Escalona ex­plained.

Un­der the newly in­sti­tuted feed­back mech­a­nism, the ex­ec­u­tive drec­tor said, the ap­pli­cant is sent an e-mail that gives him or her the rel­e­vant feed­back. The e-mail is sent within 48 hours the ap­pli­ca­tion is eval­u­ated.

“This way, the ap­pli­cant will know how to go about things,” she noted.

The ap­point­ment sys­tem also prompts users that if they se­nior cit­i­zens, per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties, preg­nant, solo par­ents, chil­dren seven years old and be­low, and over­seas Filipino work­ers, they don’t need to se­cure an ap­point­ment; they can just walk in, present they iden­ti­fi­ca­tion card and use the courtesy lane when re­new­ing or ap­ply­ing for pass­ports.

Escalona ex­plained that de­spite the dec­la­ra­tion in the DFA web­site about the use of courtesy lane, many who are en­ti­tled to it still go through the ap­point­ment sys­tem. The prompt in the ap­point­ment sys­tem is meant to ad­dress this sit­u­a­tion.

An­other no­table move is DFA’s hard stance against fix­ers who have been barred from DFA’s premises and blocked from its ap­point­ment sys­tem. Help­ing the agency go after th­ese un­scrupu­lous in­di­vid­u­als is the Na­tional Bu­reau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion’s Cy­ber­crime Di­vi­sion which was tapped by the DFA to go after th­ese fix­ers.

In Aseana, DFA’s main of­fice for pass­port pro­cess­ing, ap­pli­cants who have queries or need as­sis­tance can easily ask from the rov­ing staff de­ployed there for easy ac­cess by ap­pli­cants.

Ac­cord­ing to Escalona, ap­pli­cants who wait at the Aseana of­fice can also get a re­prieve from the day­time heat as there are now tents and elec­tric fans in place there. They can also have cold drink­ing water from the water sta­tions.

“There are even can­dies there, if they want to eat some­thing,” the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor added.

“We want to give the peo­ple the ser­vice they de­serve with­out the has­sle they may have got­ten used to in the past. We’ve just started. More changes are com­ing for the con­ve­nience, com­fort and se­cu­rity of our peo­ple not just in Aseana but in all satel­lite and con­sular of­fices and for­eign posts,” Escalona said.

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