MANILA—The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday reiterated that there were no irregularities when they allowed APO Production Unit to print the Philippine passport.
“As far as we are concerned, there’s nothing irregular with our contract with APO. Everything is aboveboard,” DFA Spokesman and Assistant Secretary Charles Jose said in a text message.
He said the DFA has no choice but to award the 10-year contract to APO after two government printing agencies refused to print the new passport.
“We can outsource the production of passports only to government printing offices. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) which didn’t want to continue printing the passports for us, National Printing Office (NPO) which didn’t want the job and APO Production Unit,” Jose explained.
In a recent press conference by DFA Acting Secretary Enrique Manalo , he said they have no other recourse but to award the project to APO because BSP and NPO refused to accept the job saying they are “work-loaded.”
Asked on who decide the passport fees, Jose said it is a collegial decision of inter-agency group spearheaded by the Department of Finance.
However, Jose pointed out that “DFA recommendation is given in setting the fees.”
“Passport expedite fees is set by the Passport Law,” he stressed.
To date, the DFA is charging PHP900 for regular passport and an additional PHP300 for rush passport.
He added that this is the same fees they collected when they give APO the green light to print Philippine passports as he dismissed allegations that there was such an increase.