In response to the national government’s call for all local government units to bring government policies and programs closer to the people, the Provincial Local Government Unit of Mountain Province (PLGU-MP), in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs – Office of Consular Affairs (DFA-OCA), conducted an e-passport processing at the Provincial Capitol last September 2, 2017.
The DFA-OCA teams composed of personnel from DFA OCA-Manila and DHA Regional Consular Office-Baguio processed a total of 529 e-passports during the one-day mobile service. 129 among the applicants were walk-in clients on top of the 400 slots.
“I am very happy that our people have availed of this initiative as it is but one way by which the Provincial Government can be of help. At least, our people would be spared from the hassle of going thru the rigors of traveling and of queueing at the Department of Foreign Affairs. We cannot really put a price to comfort and convenience,” Gov. Lacwasan said.
With the number of clients served, Governor Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. said that the clients may have saved around 600 thousand pesos in totality through the consular outreach service.
Gov. Lacwasan awarded certificates of commendation to the DFA-OCA teams as a show of the profound gratitude of the Provincial Government and of the People of Mountain Province for the Mobile e-Passport Processing Service.
Bayani G.Sibug, Jr., Head of Consular Office Coordinating Center – Manila and Eleanor B. Belgica, Officer-in-Charge of DFA Regional Consular Office -Baguio expressed their joy in having seen Mountain Province, albeit in the line of duty.
“We are honored and feel equally proud to have been chosen to provide assistance to the people of Mountain Province. Our coming to your place may be a part of our tour of duty in the whole archipelago; still, we feel blessed that we got to mingle with your people and see your awesome forest covers,” Sibug said.
Meanwhile, Gov. Lacwasan also lauded the PLGU’s Executive Assistants’ Office (EA) and Provincial Public Employment Services Office (PPESO) for their efforts in the bridging program.
Executive Assistant Adelina Jocelyn F. Cullaling said that the set date for the release of the e-Passports is on September 20; however, she said that this is tentative due to possible delays in the courier service.
Per DFA authorities, the regular passport processing, which is pegged at P950, can be claimed after 14 working days while “express,” or expedited processing can be available in just seven days at a cost of P1,200 if personally transacted.
“The additional fee of P 150.00 paid by our clients was for the mailing services,” Cullaling added.
While the requirements and schedule of the mobile passport processing has been disseminated weeks before the DFA dispatched its e-passport processing, many were still unable to avail of the public service. With this, Ms. June Vera W. Villanueva of the PPESO said that those who did not make it will have to wait for the next schedule.
“We hope that DFA will again be able to dispatch its teams to our province. What the PLGU-PESO can do is to place its request to DFA’s Office of Consular Affairs or the nearest DFA Regional Consular Office in Baguio. However, DFA will be the one to coordinate with us as regards their schedule, logistics and other arrangements like transportation,” Villanueva said.
The Provincial Government’s counterpart in the mobile e-Passporting processing service is the transportation, accommodation and food for the 21-man DFA contingent.// PIO-MP