DFA opening 10 satellite offices to boost passport services
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will open 10 temporary satellite offices to address the high demand for passport services and curb the proliferation of online advertisements offering fake passport appointment slots and tampered documents for a fee.
“We want to assure the public that ten temporary satellite offices will be opened very soon to create additional passport appointment slots,” said Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Affairs Brigido J. Dulay in a statement on Monday.
Dulay said the temporary offices will create an additional 2,500 appointment slots in Metro Manila and another 2,500 slots in other regions which are experiencing a high demand of applications.
Passport applicants beware
“The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) warns the public against advertisements on social media perpetrated by unscrupulous individuals that offer passport appointment slots and fake or tampered appointment documents in exchange for payment,” the agency said.
“Several cases of fake documents from unwitting applicants who have claimed to have secured them through social media have turned up at the DFA in recent weeks,” the DFA added.
The proliferation of passport scams online stemmed from the limited appointment passport slots due to the quarantine restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which the DFA aims to address, it said.
Previously, the DFA said it was able to offer 13,000 passport appointment slots per day. The number, however, was trimmed down to 6,100 slots per day due to venue capacity restrictions and the implementation of health and safety protocols.
In addition, these restrictions also forced several DFA offices located inside malls to cease operations.
The DFA will continue offering courtesy lane access to qualified applicants such as OFWs with urgent need to travel, pregnant, elderly and minor applicants, as well as persons with disability and solo parents.
These appointments should also be scheduled through the DFA appointment system.
DFA, however, reminded the public that only the appointments made via the official website, www.passport.gov.ph, will be honored. (Sofia Vertucio, trainee)
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