SENATOR Grace Poe has sought a probe on the alleged delay of passport processing resulting in missed opportunities for Filipinos who need to travel overseas immediately.
She filed Resolution No. 142 directing the proper Senate committee to conduct the inquiry on the matter. “Such delays have resulted in missed opportunities for Filipinos wanting to visit their families abroad.
“It has also resulted in additional cost and possible threat on life for those seeking immediate medical treatment, and delayed earnings for aspiring overseas Filipino workers who have to wait for several days just to get the most basic document that will allow them to exercise their constitutional right to travel,” said Poe.
The senator learned that apparently “security checks have also caused further delay” as double checking had been a necessity because of cases of identity fraud.
She noted that since last year, there have been several complaints against the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) because of the delay in passport application and processing.
The DFA reportedly receives at least 15,000 applications daily, and it normally takes two months to secure an appointment for passport application.
In August 2015, the DFA claimed that there is a 42,000-passport backlog, which was previously at 100,000. It was reported that the backlog started when the department had technical problems with the passporting system.
According to the DFA, the passporting system had been experiencing problems since 2009, when parts “started breaking down, resulting in technological obsolescence.”
“To address the issue of backlogs, the DFA is not only updating its passporting system, but has also issued an advisory that starting June 1, those who do not show up on their passport appointment date shall be barred from re-applying for a new slot for at least 30 days, statistics show that 47 percent of those who made a passport application appointment do not show up,” she said.