DFA implements measures for easier passport processingCebu Daily News
THE transfer of Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) offices to shopping malls and the plan for a dedicated call center for easier scheduling of passport applicants are among the measures the DFA is implementing to bring its services to the public.
Undersecretary Rafael Seguis said yesterday during a press briefing that the office transfers to malls were ongoing nationwide under public-private partnership arrangements.
Seguis said this would save the government an estimated P1.04 billion in operating and other costs in the next 10 years.
He said the call center plan would allow passport applicants to choose the date and time that they would be accommodated in any DFA consular office nationwide.
He said once this call center would be operational it would reduce if not eliminate the long lines associated with the passport application process especially in Cebu.
Seguis also noted that with the offices situated in malls, the offices could be open longer to accommodate passport applicants.
The offices in malls are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Mondays to Saturdays and 9 a.m. to noon on Sundays.
For Elias Balawag, officer-in-charge of DFA Cebu, the transfer also did away with the monthly P200,000 rent and other costs for the office building near the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino.
The office in Cebu has since transferred to the Grand Pacific Mall in Mandaue City.
“DFA Cebu is the first of these mall-based consular offices project and we expect to open before the end of the year another 12 consular offices in Metro Manila and other key cities and the conclusion of negotiations for similar arrangements for the hosting of consular offices in other parts of the country,” Seguis said.
Aside from these two measures, Seguis said the office would also conduct special and mobile passport services and would stop on Dec. 31 the accreditation of travel agencies allowing them to transact with office in processing their client’s passports. /Correspondent Fe Marie D. Dumaboc