DFA to open 14 more mall-based passport offices before year ends
QUEZON CITY, JULY 31 (PIA) -- The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will open at least 14 mall-based passport offices in Metro Manila and other parts of the country before the year ends.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario said this during the inauguration of the new DFA consular office at the Marquee Mall in Angeles City, the third mall-based consular facility in the country.
In a statement, del Rosario said this was the result of the public-private partnership (PPP) arrangements the DFA entered into with Pacific Mall Corporation, Robinsons Land Corporation, Ayala Land Incorporated, and SM Prime Holdings.
"Our PPPs with our partners not only allowed the Department to provide much-needed comfort and convenience to passport applicants but also saved the national government an initial P1.14 billion in operating costs over the next 10 years," del Rosario said.
In addition to the newly opened passport offices at the Pacific Mall in Cebu, Robinsons Starmills in San Fernando, Pampanga, and MarQuee Mall in Angeles City, del Rosario said the DFA will soon open offices at the Robinsons Galleria, Robinsons Lipa, Robinsons Bacolod, Robinsons Dumaguete, Robinsons General Santos, SM Megamall, SM Manila, SM Baguio, SM Davao, Pacific Mall Legazpi, and Metro Gaisano Alabang.
Passport applicants can also look forward to the opening of passport offices in Laoag, Batangas, Iloilo, Tacloban, Puerto Princesa, Butuan, and Cagayan de Oro before 2014, he added.
Just last week, the DFA concluded negotiations for the hosting of consular offices at the Pacific Mall in Legazpi and at Metro Gaisano at the Ayala Town Center in Alabang.
Del Rosario also disclosed the DFA is in the final stages of negotiations with private sector proponents for the hosting of consular offices in several other locations.
These mall-based consular offices will process passport applications from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays to Saturdays. They will also be open half-days on Sundays to let applicants claim their passports, del Rosario added.
Last month, the secretary approved a new set of guidelines that would allow the DFA Consular Office to further improve the delivery of services. By December, they hope to put in place a dedicated call center that would allow applicants to schedule the time and day they prefer to be served at any of the agencyâ€™s consular locations in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.
Del Rosario said that with the establishment of mall-based passport offices, they hope to finally be able to deal with the long lines that have become synonymous with the passport application process. (DFA/RJB/SDL-PIA NCR)
Number of Comments: 0