The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading the bill that extends Philippine passport validity to ten years.
“This measure will certainly give comfort to our OFWs. Often, they have to file a leave from work for them to be able to travel back and forth to the nearest Philippine embassy or consular office to get their passports renewed,” Senator Sonny Angara, one of the bill’s authors, said, referring to the overseas Filipino workers who number 2.5 million of the Philippine Statistics Authority as of 2015.
Angara’s Senate Bill 1365 or the Philippine Passport Act seeks to amend the 21-year-old Philippine Passport Act of 1996, making Philippine passports valid for 10 years, instead of the current five. However, the proposed amendment will issue passports valid for five years to Philippine citizens who are under 18 years of age.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, there are 27 different sites all over the country, where Filipinos can apply for their passport.
Senator Cynthia Villar, vice chairperson of the Committee on Foreign Relations and also one of the bill’s sponsors, said Filipinos should have the “freedom to move around and even leave the country for whatever valid purpose” they have.
A counterpart bill, House Bill 4767, was passed on third and final reading in the House of Representatives last February 13 on a 216-0 vote.