Long Wait for Philippine Passport Renewal in Calgary

Philippine consular officials came under fire Friday for not anticipating the huge numbers that turned out for an “outreach event” in Calgary, where foreign nationals from that country could get their passports renewed.

Crowds of Filipinos from across Alberta began lining up before dawn Friday, only to wait long into the afternoon before their papers were processed.

Hundreds more people who were turned away late Friday afternoon when officials cut off the line for the day will have try again through the weekend, prompting complaints from some who stood waiting for hours.

“It’s not good. Everybody’s complaining. There’s no system. Volunteers are few. It needs better organization, better system,” said Angie Balangitan, who drove to Calgary from Edmonton and was queued up by 6 a.m. Friday at the Marlborough Community Centre, where the event is being held.

“We’ll see what happens next, or we’ll come back tomorrow.”

The program is part of a consular passport outreach organized by the Philippine Consulate in Vancouver aimed to help immigrants, contract workers and those who need their visas and other documents renewed.