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DFA says ‘all passport data are safe’

/ 02:41 PM January 21, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday said all passport data are safe in its custody and control.

DFA also said all passport data have “not been shared with or accessed by any unauthorized party.”

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“The Department assured the [National Privacy Commission (NPC)] that it takes extremely seriously the protection of the personal information of the public and that all passport data (are) safe,” the DFA said in a statement.

DFA has met with NPC officials in the wake of recent issues related to Filipinos’ passport data.

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During the meeting, DFA’s Data Protection Officer and Assistant Secretary Medardo Macaraig, Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Neil Frank Ferrer, and other officials, made a full presentation on the passport process and assured the NPC that measures are in place to ensure personal data of passport applicants are protected.

The DFA also expressed readiness to cooperate with any investigation that will be conducted on the passport data issue.

Earlier, DFA Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin, Jr. disclosed the agency is “rebuilding” its files “from scratch” because a previous outsourced passport producer “took all” the data of applicants when its contract was terminated.

READ: Passport data still in gov’t hands, DFA tells privacy commission

“The Department is hoping that it was able to address the concerns of the Commission and remains ready to cooperate, especially with Congress, in any other investigation to be conducted on this issue,” it said.

“The Department is also hoping that it was able to assuage the concerns of the public on this issue that has also resulted in improvements in the passport application process,” it added, citing as example the recent directive of Locsin that removes the birth certificate requirement in passport renewals.

READ: Locsin scraps birth certificate requirement for renewal of passport

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“The Department gives its assurance that it will continue to endeavor to improve the delivery of its consular services to Filipinos in the Philippines and overseas,” DFA said.

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