|The Philipppine passport|
“We are making a promise to the Filipino and that promise is to make it easier for them to apply for their passports,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said in a statement.
Del Rosario said that under the new guidelines, he gave the DFA Office of Consular Affairs until December 31 to put in place a dedicated call center that would allow passport applicants to choose the date and time they would like to be accommodated in any DFA consular office nationwide.
“This appointment system and other measures that the DFA has been taking during the past several months will significantly reduce if not eliminate the long lines that have been associated with the passport application process,” Del Rosario said.
The new guidelines also include a target for the DFA to open the first 13 consular offices in Metro Manila and other key cities before the end of the year.
It also required all DFA mall-based offices to operate beyond regular office hours from Mondays to Saturdays to accommodate applicants who could not be absent from work or school. The offices would also be open for three hours on Sunday to accommodate applicants.
The guidelines also cover an order to decentralize authentication services and make them available in Metro Manila, San Fernando, Pampanga, Cebu, and Davao, as well as the accreditation of travel agencies for them to continue assisting applicants until December 31.
DFA has been conducting a transfer of DFA consular services to shopping malls nationwide under public-private partnership agreements.
DFA entered into memoranda of agreement with private firms operating malls nationwide, including SM Prime Holdings, Ayala Land, Robinsons Land Corporation and Pacific Mall Corporation.