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Post offices run out of pre-paid envelopes as PCG starts new passport mailing system

27 May 2020

By Daisy CL Mandap

The green courier envelope was out of stock on the day the new passport mailing system came into effect

Even before the Consulate could start implementing its new rule of mailing new passports to applicants, many post offices across Hong Kong had run out of the envelopes specified for this purpose.

The green pre-paid courier envelopes cost $32 each, and are used for sending the new passports to applicants through registered mail, meaning, they will have to be received by the addressees themselves.

The demand for the designated envelopes appeared to have overwhelmed the postal system that by the launch of the Consulate’s new mailing system for new passports on Monday, May 25, most of its branches had sold all of their supplies.

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According to Consul General Raly Tejada, between 200 and 300 passport applications are processed by the Consulate each day.

Anticipating the spike in demand for the envelopes, he said his office had reminded the HK Post Office a couple of times to boost their stock, particularly in Central and the branch on Hennesy Road in Wanchai, which is nearest the Consulate.

But the surge in demand must have been unexpected.

According to Rodelia P. Villar, founder of the online group, Domestic Workers Corner, even the post office in Discovery Bay where she lives, was already out of the envelopes by last week.
Villar said she was told that the post office no longer had the envelope in stock after she bought 10 pieces for members who could not go out to get them before their designated passport appointments.

“Kinausap ko na yung dito sa DB post office na kung may stock tawagan ako, pero wala pa daw dumating,” she said.

(“I’ve already asked the staff here at the DB post office to call me if a new stock arrives, but I was told it has not arrived yet.”)
 
DWC's Villar bought 10 courier envelopes to help members applying for new passports
In several posts made by her members afterwards, it became clear most post offices across Hong Kong, including the GPO in Central and the Hennesy Road branch, had also run out of the envelope.

Only a few said they still managed to get it. One said it was still being sold in Kwai Hing, while another suggested the Po Lam post office.

But by today afternoon, Congen Tejada relayed via messenger that he received word that the GPO had the envelope back in stock.

He also said in a Facebook post that the HK Post Office would add to its supply of envelopes in various branches, particularly the GPO in Central, and the one on Hennesy Road in Wanchai.

At the same time, he praised enterprising Filipino migrant workers who came up with alternative solutions to the courier envelope shortage.

“(Pero) saludo ako sa galing ng ating mga kababayan. Bagama’t pansamantalang nagkaubusan ng prepaid envelope (green) sila na din po ang nagkusa na gumawa ng paraan,” he said in post, which he followed up with a thumbs up and applause emoticons.

(But I salute the ingenuity of our fellow Filipinos. While there was a temporary shortage of the prepaid green envelope, they managed to come up with solutions to the problem).
 
Manansala's brown envelope with $32 worth of stamps and tracking slip passed muster
One example he showed was a brown envelope to which $32 worth of stamps were affixed, along with a self-addressed tracking slip.

This was the same envelope shared by Jennifer Manansala in a post in DWC, which she said her employers had made for her, when they could not get the designated envelope from any of the post offices they had been to.
She later posted happily that the envelope passed scrutiny at the Consulate when she brought it for her passport appointment earlier today.

Another alternative, according to Tejada, is the white Speed Post envelope, which he said must come with the $32 worth of stamps and the tracking slip.
 
Applicants may also use this envelope along with the stamps and courier tracking slip
The mailing of new passports was one of several new measures he introduced to decongest the Consulate amid the pandemic, and to promote social distancing between staff and their customers.

The first is the “no walk-in” appointment system. Applicants have three options to book their appointment for passport application:  (1) through online: (hk.passport.gov.ph), (2) by email: epass.app@gmailcom), or (3) by calling either of these two phone numbers:2823 8508 or 5241 5464),

Later, a drop-in box for applicants was set up on the ground floor of United Centre where the Consulate has its offices, after it emerged that certain shopkeepers in the building had been offering online booking services for a fee, along with costly photocopying.

Another step was the installation of photo-taking booths about two meters away from the counters where staff operate the camera and attend to applicants from behind glass partitions.


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