The Senate unanimously approved on third and final reading a bill providing for a new Philippine passport law.
A priority measure under the 19th Congress, Senate Bill No. (SBN) 2001, or the proposed “New Philippine Passport Act,” would pave the way for a new generation of passports that is at par with international standards, streamlining the passport application process, while maintaining the integrity and security of the country’s passports.
“The New Philippine Passport Law will be the framework upon which we will build a future reiteration of the Philippine passport and contactless technologies.”
“The New Philippine Passport Law will be the framework upon which we will build a future reiteration of the Philippine passport and contactless technologies,” the Committee on Foreign Relations chairperson said.
Besides the online application portal, SBN 2001 calls for the establishment of an Electronic One-Stop Shop on the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) website to facilitate convenience of application and ease in gathering and submission of requirements.
The bill would also institutionalize the offsite and mobile passport services being provided by the DFA.
The DFA shall arrange special lanes for the passport applications by senior citizens, persons with disability, pregnant women, minors aged seven and below, solo parents, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and individuals with emergency and exceptional cases.
Personal appearance of OFWs abroad and senior citizens is no longer required for passport renewal.
Filipino travelers who lose their passports during overseas trip would be issued emergency passports which shall be valid for one year to allow them to continue with their intended travel abroad.
Meanwhile, Filipino travelers who lose their passports during overseas travel would be issued emergency passports which shall be valid for one year. This will allow Pinoys to continue with their intended travel abroad.
The bill also proposes the creation of a “Passport Revolving Fund,” sourced from the service fees charged from passport processing and issuance which require special consideration or issuance beyond regular office hours. Congress shall review the disbursement and use of the fund annually.
The New Philippine Passport Bill establishes a passport database, which, aside from the biographic, biometric, and demographic data of passport holders, shall also contain a record of denials, cancellations, and lost passports.
Further, the bill enumerates prohibitions and penalties relating to forgery, withholding and improper use of passports and other travel documents, as well as the unfair and discriminatory practices committed by DFA officers.