DFA: OFWs can avail priority lane for passport application

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Overseas Filipino workers can use the priority lane in DFA offices and regional consular offices when applying for passport renewal. File

MANILA, Philippines — Overseas Filipino workers need not acquire an appointment schedule with the Department of Foreign Affairs to renew their passports, Office of Consular Affairs Assistant Secretary Frank Cimafranca said Wednesday.

Along with senior citizens, persons with disabilities, minors below seven years old and single parents, OFWs may avail of the priority of the DFA offices to renew their passport.

"'Yung mga first time OFWs o nag-a-apply pa lang ay tina-try naming i-accommodate by creating a special portal which can be used by recruitment agencies," Cimafranca told radio dzMM.

RELATED: DFA issues implementing rules of 10-year passports

Cimafranca also reminded passport holders with less than one year of validity to start processing the renewal of their passports.

The DFA, meanwhile, is trying to address the congested online scheduling system for passport renewal.

"We are trying to address this by trying to increase our capacity to process passports," Cimafranca said.

All appointment slots until March have been booked and blocked in all locations and satellite offices of the DFA, based on its online application system.

Pro-Duterte blogger Sass Rogando Sasot recently posted allegations of corruption in the DFA's online passport application system.

A netizen claimed that DFA employees are collecting as much as P4,500 to schedule an appointment for passport processing.

The DFA is yet to comment on the allegations that travel agents are colluding with employees within the agency. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

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