DFA asked to provide PTAA members access to mobile passport service

MANILA-- The Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) on Thursday asked the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to grant them once-a-week access to its mobile passport service which will be rolled out in October.

PTAA president Marlene Jante made this call after the association temporarily lost the 500-daily quota guaranteed by the DFA to its members which she described as a big blow to travel agencies operational viability.

"It is a fact that 15 percent of the revenue stream of some of our members comes from their passport processing services. This will impact travel agencies operations," Jante said in a press statement.

Jante said that access to their mobile passport service will soften the financial blow on its members.

She explained that the PTAA has told the DFA that its office in Mandaluyong City could host the mobile service every Saturday and process all applications there that were coursed through its members.

The PTAA president also suggested that the association can coordinate with the local government unit of Mandaluyong City to ensure that they can accommodate the most number of individuals who are looking to renew their passports.

She noted that having the DFA mobile service will assist their members' respective businesses stay afloat until such time that their daily quota is restored or even increased.

Earlier in the week, DFA Office of Consular Affairs Acting Director Ricarte Abejuela III sent a letter to the PTAA informing the association that they have removed its online appointment slots for passport processing.

In the letter, the DFA is now requiring all travel agency applicants to go through the same process including application through online appointment processing, payment, encoding, and claiming of passports.

The DFA has also prohibited travel agency staff including liaison officers from entering its consular premises to accompany or assist clients.

Under the implementing rules and regulations of the Passport Act of 1996, travel agencies are legally allowed to process passport applications and ensure that all documents submitted are true, correct, genuine and authentic.

Source: Philippine News Agency