DFA Makes Passport Application and Renewal Easier

14 September 2017 - After releasing thousands of appointment slots to the public, the Department of Foreign Affairs is making it easier for passport applicants with further improvements in the appointment system.

Among these new reforms is a redesign of the appointment system that now allows applicants to see, at first glance, which dates have available slots.

"Now, you don't need to click on every date only to find out 60 clicks after that the next available appointment date is in two months' time," said DFA Office of Consular Affairs Executive Director Angelica Escalona.

"If you will look at our appointment website, the dates in color red are those that are fully booked. Those that are green are those that have available slots."

The appointment system also now has a feedback mechanism that ensures that applicants are told if there is a problem with their application, and what they need to do to resolve the problem.

"Before, when you applied for a passport you were told to pick it up on a scheduled date. If for some reason there was a problem with your application, like discrepancies in the information or documents that you submitted, you wouldn't know until that day when you are supposed to pick up the passport. There's no feedback mechanism," Escalona explained.

Under the newly instituted feedback mechanism, the Executive Director said, the applicant is sent an e-mail that gives him or her the relevant feedback. The e-mail is sent within the 48 hours  the application is evaluated.

"This way, the applicant will know how to go about things," she noted.

The appointment system also prompts users that if you are a senior citizen, person with disability, pregnant, solo parent, child 7 years old and below, and Overseas Filipino Worker, you don't need to secure an appointment; you can just walk in, present your identification card and use the courtesy lane when renewing or applying for passports.

Escalona explained that despite the declaration in the DFA website about the use of courtesy lane, many who are entitled to it still go through the appointment system. The prompt in the appointment system is meant to address this situation.

Another notable move is DFA's hard stance against fixers who have been barred from DFA's

premises and blocked from its appointment system. Helping the agency go after these unscrupulous individuals is the National Bureau of Investigation's Cybercrime Division which was tapped by the DFA to go after these fixers.

In Aseana, DFA's main office for passport processing, applicants who have queries or need assistance can easily ask from the roving staff deployed there for easy access by applicants.

According to Escalona, applicants who wait at the Aseana office can also get a reprieve from the daytime heat as there are now tents and electric fans in place there. They can also have cold drinking water from the water stations.

"There are even candies there, if they want to eat something," the Executive Director added.

"We want to give the people the service they deserve without the hassle they may have gotten used to in the past. We've just started. More changes are coming for the convenience, comfort and security of our people not just in Aseana but in all satellite and consular offices and foreign posts", Escalona said. ###


DFA Pinadali ang Aplikasyon at Renewal ng Pasaporte

14 Setyembre 2017 - Matapos magbukas ng libu-libong appointment slots sa publiko, pinadali ng Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) ang passport application sa pamamagitan ng pagsasaayos ng appointment system.

Inayos ng DFA ang disenyo ng online appointment system para sa isang tingin lamang ay makikita na ng aplikante ang mga bakanteng petsa kung kailan pwede siyang mag-apply o mag-renew ng pasaporte.

“Ngayon, hindi na nila kailangang i-click pa ang lahat ng petsa para lang malaman na ang susunod na appointment ay aabutin pa ng dalawang buwan,” wika ni DFA Office of Consular Affairs Executive Director Angelica Escalona.

"Kung bibisitahin mo ang ating appointment website, ang mga petsa na kulay pula ay pawang may naka-book na, samantalang ang mga petsa na kulay berde ay pawang mga bakante," dagdag pa ni Escalona.

Ang appointment system ay dinagdagan din ng feedback mechanism na nagsasabi sa aplikante kung merong problema sa kanyang aplikasyon at kung ano ang dapat niyang gawin upang malutas agad ito.

"Noon kasi walang feedback mechanism, kaya malalaman lamang ng aplikante ang problema sa kanyang aplikasyon--kagaya ng discrepancies o pagkakaiba sa impormasyon o dokumentong isinumite--sa takdang araw mismo nang pagkuha niya ng pasaporte. Ang resulta ay babalik siya para magsumite ng impormasyon o dokumento at muli para kunin ang pasaporte," saad pa ni Escalona.

Sa bagong ipinapatupad na feedback mechanism, wika ni Escalona, ang aplikante ay makakatanggap ng e-mail na nagsasaad ng angkop na feedback mula sa DFA. Ang feedback ay ipinapadala sa aplikante 48 hours o dalawang araw matapos ang pagsusuri sa papeles ng aplikante. 

"Sa ganitong paraan, ang aplikante ay magkakaroon ng sapat na panahon upang maayos niya ang kakulangan o discrepancy sa kanyang papeles at hindi na magpapabalik-balik pa," dagdag pa ni Escalona.

Pinapaalala rin ng appointment system na kung ang aplikante ay senior citizen, person with disability o may kapansanan, buntis, solo parent, batang nasa edad na pito at pababa, o Overseas Filipino Worker, hindi na niya kailangang kumuha ng appointment. Bagkus ay pwede siyang mag-walk-in at gumamit ng courtesy lane. Kailangan lamang niyang ipakita ang kanyang ID.

Paliwanag ni Escalona, kahit nakasaad sa DFA website ang mga pwedeng gumamit ng courtesy lane, marami pa rin sa kanila ang dumadaan sa appointment system. Kaya minabuti ng DFA na paalalahanan silang gamitin ang kanilang pribilehiyo.

Ilan pa sa mga ipinatupad na agresibong pagbabago sa DFA ay ang pagsawata sa mga fixers na di pinapayagang pumasok sa DFA at gumamit ng online appointment system. Nakikipagtulungan ang DFA sa National Bureau of Investigation-Cybercrime Division upang mahuli ang mga fixers na nagsasamantala sa mga aplikante.

Sa Aseana, ang pangunahing opisina ng DFA sa passport processing, nagtalaga ng mga roving staff members upang tumugon sa mga tanong ng aplikante o magbigay ng agarang tulong sa loob ng pasilidad.

Dagdag pa ni Escalona, mababawasan ang init habang naghihintay sa kanilang opisina sa Aseana dahil nagdagdag na rin ng tents at electric fans sa lugar. Meron ding water stations na pwedeng kunan ng mga aplikante ng malamig na inuming tubig.

"Meron pa ngang mga candies para sa sino mang aplikante," saad pa ng Executive Director.

"Ang mga pagbabagong ito ay ginagawa namin upang maibigay sa tao ang serbisyong karapat-dapat para sa kanila. Simula pa lamang ang mga ito. Marami pa kaming gustong ipatupad upang maging mas mabilis, maginhawa at maayos ang pagkuha ng pasaporte hindi lamang sa Aseana kundi sa lahat ng satellite offices, consular offices at foreign posts ng DFA," pagtatapos ni Escalona. ###