PEOPLE should welcome the launching of the “Passport on Wheels” (POW) program of the Department of
Foreign Affairs (DFA) to decongest the pestering backlogs in the agency’s online scheduling system.
In the view of many, the launching of the scheme is one of the best ways to show that the
government, through the DFA, is doing something to accommodate those having a hard time getting
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the department has four mobile vans
equipped with five passport data capturing machines, with each van capable of processing 500 passport
applicants a day.
The four vans will be deployed in areas not served by DFA’s six shopping mall-based consular
offices in the Metropolitan Manila area. The project is in close coordination with local government
Cayetano said the agency wants to double capacity, from 9,000 a day to 18,000 a day, adding
once this goal is achieved, online passport application waiting will be reduced to at least one
Registration for the POW project is done through the LGUs. However, walk-in applicants are
also open to apply as long as they have all the necessary requirements.
The “Passport on Wheels” program was launched last Monday in Las Piñas City, with Sen.
Cynthia A. Villar in attendance. Villar is one of the principal authors of Republic Act (RA) No.
Signed into law by President Duterte in August last year, the new legislation extends the
validity of Philippine passport from five years to 10 years.
And what’s important is for concerned government authorities to ensure that the country’s
passport applicants are not victimized by sweet-talking and highly-enterprising fixers.
Talagang marami pa rin tayong mga kababayan, kasama na ang mga overseas job applicant, na
nabibiktima ng mga fixer na ito.