THE Philippine passport will soon have longer validity.
The technical working group of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs has finished consolidating 22 bills, all seeking to lengthen the validity of the Philippine passport.
From the existing five years, the proposal of the committee is to extend it up to 10 years for adults and five years for minors.
The TWG chaired by Deputy Speaker Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo approved proposals to amend Republic Act 8239 or the “Philippine Passport Law.”
The members agreed to extend to five years the validity of passports of minors, aged zero to 17 years old. For passports of adults, or those 18 years old and above, the validity shall be 10 years.
Arroyo said it is not the intention of the authors of the bills to introduce any other amendment to the existing law, but only to lengthen the passport’s validity.
The former chief executive said the present five-year passport validity “is rather too short given the tedious process and cost it requires to obtain or renew a passport.”
Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil and ACTS-OFW Rep. Aniceto Bertiz III expressed support for the amendment during the TWG meeting. Under Section 10 of RA 8239, the passport is valid for a period of five years, regardless of the age of the applicant.
With the amendment approved by the TWG, the provision of the said law shall read:
“SECTION 10. Validity. Regular passports issued under this Act shall be valid for a period of five (5) years for minors, ages zero to seventeen (0-17) years old and ten (10) years for adults eighteen (18) years old and above: Provided, however, That the issuing authority may limit the period of validity to less than ten (10) years; whenever in the national economic interest or political stability of the country such restriction is necessary: Provided, finally, That a new passport may be issued to replace one which validity has expired, the old passport being returned to the holder after cancellation.”
The present law refers to passport as “a document issued by the Philippine government to its citizens and requesting other governments to allow its citizens to pass safely and freely, and in case of need to give him/her all lawful aid and protection.”
The consolidated bill will be presented to the committee on foreign affairs chaired by Rep. Linabelle Ruth Villarica (4th District, Bulacan) during its next hearing.
Aside from Arroyo, other authors are Lipa City Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto; Batangas Rep. Romeo Acop, Antipolo Rep. Romeo Acop, DIWA Rep. Emmeline Aglipay-Villar; 1-PACMAN Reps. Mikee Romero and Eric Pineda; Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo; AASENSO Rep. Teodoro Montoro; Cebu Rep. Benhur Salimbangon; Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing; Sultan Kudarat Rep. Horacio Suansing, Jr.; Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan and others.