1,200 Passport appointment slots previously allocated to travel agencies are now available to general public, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
“We want to give back the appointment slots to the Filipino public,” said Ricarte B. Abejuela III, acting director of the Passport Division of the Office of Consular Affairs.
With this new policy clients of travel agencies will also undergo the same process all other applicants undergo when applying for new or renewing a passport.
The new policy took effect August 1.
Abejuela said travel agencies are not the only ones who need to make adjustments “for the greater good.”
Moreover, the new policy will only allows immediate family members of DFA employees – parents, spouse, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren and parents-in-law – to have access to the DFA’s express lane.
The significant reduction in the daily courtesy lane slots reserved for the DFA employees has resulted in a further increase in daily slots for applicants who should be entitled to the courtesy lane.
“So we all need to make changes for everybody’s sake. We really want to give back the courtesy lane to those who are entitled to it. These are the senior citizens, persons with disabilities, pregnant, solo parents, children 7 years old and below, and Overseas Filipino Workers,” Abujuela emphasized.
First time Overseas Filipino Workers are now also accommodated in courtesy lane.
“Our policy now is that no OFW should be left without a job just because he couldn’t get a passport,” he added.