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Delays in passport arrivals seen as DFA suspends consular services

19 March 2020

by The SUN
DFA has temporarily closed its passport office in Manila amid the Covid-19 outbreak

Filipinos who are scheduled to pick up their new passports in the coming days should expect a delay in the delivery of the travel documents, the Consulate said.

The PCG said this is due to the indefinite suspension of all consular operations and passport services by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila to comply with the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon to help check the spread of novel coronavirus.

“Due to this scenario, delays in passport deliveries to Hong Kong may be expected,” the Consulate said in an advisory issued Mar 18.
But the PCG assured affected applicants it will extend necessary assistance to them.

Community members who are scheduled to pick up their passports in the next few days have expressed surprise at the announcement.

“How about for pick up this coming Sunday, ok po ba?” posted one worker in the comment section of the Consulate’s Facebook page.  
The question was echoed by several other applicants who are with pick-up schedules in the coming two weeks.

A staff from the Consulate advised them to verify the status of their passports at or call 2823 8508.

Others who commented on the advisory complained about their unsuccessful attempt to book passport appointments online.
JieAnne Soliman complained she booked online for her renewal of her passport, which will expire on Aug 3, but has not received a reply.

Another said she had tried several times to book but received only an “error” warning. “Kaya mag-walk in na lang ako sa Sunday,” she said.

Walking into the Consulate may prove a hassle, however, as hundreds of people line up for services during the shortened work hours on Sundays due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At least one Filipina who is scheduled to travel abroad in the next few days has a bigger problem. She somehow damaged her passport, and now needs a replacement document immediately so she could fly out.

Told that she could ask for a one-way travel document, she immediately said she’d go to the Consulate to make the application, but later realized it would be closed for the next two days, in line with standard practice.

On top of this, she faces a problem of when she can secure a new one, after the DFA’s decision to close down its passport office in Manila in compliance with the community quarantine for Luzon.

After calling the Consulate's assistance to nationals section, she was told to report to them on Monday, Mar 23, to apply for a temporary document, and weigh her options for securing a new passport.
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