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PCG allays concern over new requirement to renew passport

11 September 2017

By Daisy CL Mandap

The Consulate has downplayed fears that those who are applying to renew their Philippine passports will now be required to present a copy of their birth certificates duly certified by the Philippine Statistics Authority (formerly the National Statistics Office or NSO).

According to a report published in the Middle East and shared by many overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong, the birth certificate is required for applicants whose indicated birthplace does not include a city or town, but just a province.

The requirement, said to have taken effect only starting August this year, is in line with preparations for the issuance of the new passports with 10-year validity.

However, Vice Consul Fatima Quintin told The SUN that the requirement for the PSA-issue birth certificate is nothing new, as problems over incomplete birth details occurred only very rarely, and mostly with those holding machine-readable passports (MRPs).

Thus, she said they had made it a requirement for those with MRPs to come with their birth certificates when they apply for renewal, to ensure faster processing. “For applicants still with MRPs, we are already requiring them to present a PSA-issued birth certificate as this is mandatory, whether or not their place of birth has issues,” she said.

But, she added MRPs “would have already expired by this time so this should not be a cause for concern for OFWs here in Hong Kong who need valid passports for their stay here.”

That means, she said, those with the new e-passports would have had their places of birth corrected already.

OFW leader Eman Villanueva was among those who first expressed concern over the reported new requirement, saying that if true, it would cause added inconvenience to the already burdened migrant workers.

While welcoming the news that the new passports with 10-year validity will be issued soon, Villanueva and his group are worried that they would cost double the current price of $480. They want the new passport priced the same as in the Philippines, which is currently Php980 for those issued in Metro Manila, and P1,250 in other places.

The Department of Foreign Affairs, as the passport issuing authority, had previously announced the new passports with extended validity would cost twice as much. However, during his visit to Hong Kong in July, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano promised OFWs would have “cheaper, faster” 10-year passports.

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