DFA in Bicol goes on six-day work week for passport service

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LEGAZPI CITY—The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Bicol would make available its passport service on Saturdays.

Helen Grace B. Cuisia, DFA Bicol director, said the department would process passport applications Monday to Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at its regional office at Pacific Mall here, which is allowing the DFA to use space in the mall for free under a public-private partnership program.

She said even government employees, who have only weekends as their free time, would be given the chance to obtain their passports.

Cuisia said the DFA is trying “to bring the consular office closer to the people by serving with a smile.”

She said the DFA tried to make passport processing available on Sundays but no applicant came.

Cuisia showed how the process was made efficient with booths that process applications and check requirements.

The basic requirements for new passport applicants are birth certificates issued by the National Statistics Office and the municipal registrar where the applicant was born.

Cuisia said they have officers who evaluate the requirements and advise the applicant if there are documents that are lacking. Biometrics and photos would be taken and recorded in DFA data bank once applicants complete the documentary requirements.

The applicant is expected to receive the passport after 30 days, for a fee of P950, and for a shorter period of 15 days, for a fee of P1,200.

Cuisia said inconsistencies could delay the release of passports like identity questions or previous processes which were not completed.

“The machine that prints the passport automatically stops once there’s inconsistency from the databank,” she said.

She said with 23 employees, including herself, the Bicol DFA office processes 300 passport applications per day.

Cuisia said the Bicol DFA office gives service not only to Bicolanos but also residents of the Samar provinces and most of the Eastern Visayas region.

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