MANILA — At least 94,000 appointment slots for passport application and renewal have been added by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) after it has implemented reforms.
Assistant Secretary Frank Cimafranca of the Office of Consular Affairs said the 62,450 more slots were made available after the DFA increased the consular offices’ appointment quotas, while the remaining 31,900 came from the cleaning up of bogus appointments created by unscrupulous individuals.
Cimafranca said these slots were opened from July to August, while thousands more will be opened on Friday for September appointments.
“The goal is to serve as many people as we can efficiently and effectively, so those slots had to be cleaned up. And that’s what we did,” he said in a statement.
Cimafranca said opening additional appointment slots has been complemented by an increase in personnel in charge of processing documents.
He noted the increase in personnel has led to the moving up to earlier dates of about 900 appointments, and has resulted in the reduction of suspended applications under investigation — from 33,000 on Aug. 2 to zero as of Aug. 18.
To prevent the unnecessary use of slots, Cimafranca issued a reminder that senior citizens, persons with disabilities, solo parents, pregnant women and minors (seven years old and below) may just walk in without prior appointment with the DFA when renewing or applying for passports.