Manila — Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto on Tuesday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to fulfill his promise of lengthening the validity of Philippine passports.
Recto asked President Duterte to certify bills as “priority measures” that would make passport’s validity from five to 10 years.
The promise was made by Pres. Duterte on his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 2016.
Recto cited in his bill’s explanatory note that many Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) experienced inconveniences in securing their passport.
He explained that most OFWs are allowed to return to the Philippines from two weeks to one month vacation but the processing of passports can take up that entire period.
“This might be too short a time for OFWs to secure new passports. Many spend their entire vacation in queues for multiple government-issued permits needed for their employment,” Recto said.
Recto pointed out that extending the validity of the passport would require a revision of Republic Act 8239 or the Philippine Passport Act of 1996.
Days before Pres. Duterte gave his promise, Recto filed Senate Bill 795 that would amend the said act.
Recto added that the representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) during the budget hearing said that they do not object the proposal.
DFA is expected to collect PHP4.6 billion from passport processing. The agency receives about 15,000 applications a day.