Quezon City Rep. Winnie Castelo appealed to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to create a special lane for overseas Filipino workers renewing their passports amid reports of clogging in the DFA online appointment system.
“Please don’t make passport renewal difficult for OFWs, especially those who are in the country for a short vacation, and who need to return soon to the countries where they are working,” appealed Castelo, vice chairman of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs.
The DFA has come under heavy fire from Filipinos renewing their passports because of difficulties on getting an appointment through the agency’s online facilities.
Many have complained that the earliest appointment date is already in March, which does not give enough time for OFWs who are in the country for a brief vacation to renew their passports.
DFA assistant secretary Frank Cimafranca said that OFWs need not make online appointments to renew their passports as they can go directly to the DFA.
In line with this, Castelo asked the DFA to create a special link for OFWs on its online appointment system – separate from the general public – so they can be given priority appointment dates.
“Our OFWs should have the option to make online appointments instead of going directly to the DFA office to renew their passports as advised by Cimafranca,” Castelo said.
Our OFWs should have the option to make online appointments instead of going directly to the DFA office.
“One will never know how long the line at the DFA office would be so there is no guarantee that our OFWs can be attended to once they are at the DFA.”
Cimafranca has said that the DFA can only process 12,000 passports a day but as many as 15,000 applications are received daily.
Castelo, however, expressed concern why the DFA has failed to anticipate such demand when it has all the means to do so.