Lawmakers pass new passport law
The House of Representatives on Monday passed a measure that would replace the country’s existing passport law and simplify requirements to avail of passports as well as provide the elderly and persons with disability a 50 percent discount on fees. House Bill No. 6510, or the New Philippine Passport Act, which would repeal Republic Act No. 8239, or the Philippine Passport Act of 1996, was approved on third and final reading through 252 affirmative votes on Monday’s plenary session. Apart from harmonizing domestic and international agreements, which affect passport issuance, the new law would make it illegal to withhold a person’s passport and deal harsher penalties for forgery and improper use of the document of a maximum six-year jail term and up to P2 million in fines.
—Jeannette I. Andrade
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