TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will open consular offices in Santiago City, Cagayan Valley and Ilocos Norte this May.
The new consular offices will open in Robinsons Place, San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte on May 8 and in Robinsons Place Santiago City on May 15, DFA announced in a press release on Labor Day Monday, May 1.
The offices will operate from Monday to Saturday.
DFA said this is part of the agency’s efforts “to bring passport and other consular services closer to the Filipinos wherever they are in the country.”
The agency also recently reopened its consular office in Robinsons Mall North Abucay, Tacloban, on April 21.
DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in the release that the opening of the two offices is a “firm example” the DFA’s commitment to make passport and other consular services more accessible to Filipinos.
“The new locations promise more convenient and comfortable passport application, especially for clients within the area and the nearby provinces who will now experience the improvements that we are making in the passport application system,” Cayetano said.
Meanwhile, DFA Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Frank Cimafranca said the agency’s passport production increased by nearly 20% in 2017.
DFA noted a big increase from the 1.89 % increase in 2016 and the .054% increase in 2015.
Cimafranca said the high demand for passports led to President Duterte’s signing of Executive Order No. 45 to allow DFA to open additional consular offices.
The assistant secretary said, with the DFA’s budget allotted by Congress this year, the agency will open six more consular offices in various regions soon.
Further, DFA said Robinsons is hosting consular offices free of charge.
Robinsons will also open its newest mall in this city but DFA has yet to announce if they will put up consular office here.
Yet, DFA assured that they are “implementing measures to cope with the strong demand for passports, especially after the roll out of passports valid for 10 years.”
Among these measures are daily deployment of four “Passport on Wheels” vans, rendition of Saturday work in DFA Aseana, increasing daily capacity of consular offices, and expanding the courtesy lanes to sectors who need them most, the department said. Northernforum.net