Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has ordered the Office of Consular Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs to study the removal of the passport appointment system and introduce other reforms to speed up passport application.
Addressing department employees at the flag-raising ceremony Monday, Cayetano said he instructed his transition team and officials of the DFA passport division to prepare a memorandum containing reforms, and on when and how they will be implemented.
“Our goal is that when you walk in, you will be able to apply for your passport, and in a few days, you will get your passport. And later on, like in the US, you can apply for it in the post office,” Cayetano said.
Last year, the DFA launched the current online passport appointment system that allows applicants who visit the site to select the appointment location and time of their choice, except for application for replacement of lost passports.
But the issue lies on walk-in applicants who often spend time waiting on long lines.
Cayetano said he expects a memo soon detailing how this plan can be achieved and set his arrival in the Philippines from a trip to Russia as deadline to DFA officials.
“I want to know how they’re going to do it,” Cayetano said, adding that options may include getting more machines, employing more casual employees, and talking to the Department of Budget and Management for additional funds.
“Kung hindi available kaagad ang additional funds for casuals or for contractuals for this (If additional funds aren’t immediately available for casuals or contractual workers for this), while I’m talking to the DBM, use my salary so that we can start right away,” Cayetano said.