DFA taps UP to address passport demand issues

MANILA -- The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has tapped the University of the Philippines (UP) to work on a research that will project demands for passports in the next 10 years.

According to DFA Assistant Secretary Frank Cimafranca, the partnership with statistical experts from UP is primarily intended for budgeting purposes as well as for planning and programming of future expansion as it increases capacity to meet any anticipated brim in the passport demand.

"After what we have experienced in the past and the current difficulties we are facing at present, we cannot afford to stay complacent and simply react to problems when they arise," he said in a statement on Saturday.

"We must be able to anticipate them and always have measures in place to counter any risks," he added.

For 2018, the agency plans to put up eight additional consular offices nationwide to fill the gap brought by the lack of capacity in processing passports.

At present, there are 27 consular offices including the DFA-Aseana, with an overall capacity of processing 9,000 passports a day.

According to Cimafranca, the demand now reaches 12,000 a day.

"You can just imagine daily 'yan, so it will pile up," he said in a separate interview.

"We have to really resolve that by increasing capacity drastically, he added.

The official said the only way to do so was to provide a long-term solution, that was, by opening new consular offices especially in populated areas and provinces surrounding Metro Manila.

Cimafranca said the commissioned study was expected to conclude by March in time for the DFA to present its budget to the Department of Budget and Management then to the Congress.

Source: Philippine News Agency