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Long holiday delays new passports

16 January 2017

Long lines of people claiming their new passports.

By Vir B. Lumicao

The long Christmas holiday season has resulted in a backlog in the release of new passports.

More than a week since the holidays ended, long queues formed at the passport counters at the Consulate, and Vice Consul Fatima Quintin, the officer in charge, had to lend a hand in attending to applicants.

Still, some applicants who had waited for months for their documents in vain were unable to contain their anger.

One of them was  Lorielyn R. who went ballistic at the releasing counter upon learning that the new passport she had applied for in October last year and was due for pick up on Dec 6 had not yet arrived from Manila.

“Apat na beses na akong pinabalik-balik doon pero hanggang ngayon wala pa,” the domestic worker angrily told The SUN who chanced upon her at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office where she was processing her new work contract.

She was doubly irritated when, arriving at POLO, she found out that there was also a long line for OFWs renewing their work contracts.

Lorielyn said five others who were in the same situation as hers also ran out of patience and berated staff at the Consulate for their undelivered passports.

Vice Consul Quintin confirmed that that passport shipments were delayed mainly because of the intervening holidays both here in Hong Kong and in the Philippines.

She admitted being aware of the complaints about the delays, but said that these were mainly due to snags in Manila. To appease those affected, she said the Consulate had been extending gratis the validity extension of their existing documents.

Quintin said passport processing normally takes three months, but sometimes there are a few who receive their new travel documents in just a few weeks.

She added that the speed at which applications are processed could also depend on the accuracy of the data entered by the applicants. There are times that incomplete or incorrect documents are submitted, and these have to be returned to the applicants to fix.

Another reason could be because the applicant’s name is on the DFA lookout list, Quintin said.
She explained that this could be due to issues in the applicant’s personal details, such as fictitious names, altered dates, data errors, criminal and other court cases.

It could also be because the applicant has the same name as someone in the lookout list.

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