DFA opens 177,500 additional passport appointment slots with 5 new sites
MANILA, Philippines — An additional 177,500 passport appointment slots will be available to the public, with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) opening five new special off-site locations in the National Capital Region (NCR) to address the high demand for passport application.
“The DFA is aware of the demand for passport appointment slots during the pandemic and so we prepared a temporary expansion of our consular operations in off-site locations to address this need while maintaining health and safety protocols,” DFA Undersecretary Brigido Dulay said in a statement on Tuesday.
The new DFA Temporary Offsite Passport Services (TOPS) will be opened on Wednesday at the SM Mall of Asia, SM City North Edsa, SM Aura, Robinsons Place Las Piñas, and Robinsons Place Magnolia.
The TOPS sites will operate until September which can accommodate 500 appointments daily from Mondays to Saturdays, according to the DFA.
With these sites “operating at full capacity,” the public can expect a total of 177,500 additional passport appointment slots until the end of September on the DFA’s online appointment system.
This, on top of the regular appointment slots at the department’s Aseana office and its consular offices all over the country, according to the DFA.
With the additional appointment slots, Dulay advised applicants not to entertain enterprising groups and individuals who offer passport appointment slots and assistance in exchange for a fee.
“We advise applicants to avoid falling prey to online fraudsters and scammers who are taking advantage of the situation by charging hefty fees,” he said.
He also added that passport appointment slots are free of charge and are made available through the DFA’s official website.
The appointment slots for the five TOPS can be accessed through the DFA’s online appointment system website www.passport.gov.ph.
Dulay said courtesy lanes will also be provided in the TOPS offices for overseas Filipino workers with existing contracts, senior citizens, pregnant applicants, children below seven years old, persons with disabilities, and solo parents.
Courtesy lane clients can access the facility by sending an email to [email protected] , the DFA said.
— Sofia Vertucio, INQUIRER.net trainee