LINGAYEN, Pangasinan August 12 – The Department of Foreign Affairs is finally putting its satellite office in Calasiao, Pangasinan into full operation hopefully this month following the approval of the supplementary budget for the purchase of the needed equipment for its smooth operation.
This was confirmed by Jennifer Catherine Gapuz, officer-in-charge of the DFA Consular Office at the Robinson’s Place in Calasiao.
As of the last regular session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan held here recently, Gapuz admitted during the question hour that the DFA was not able to include the funds needed for the local consular office in its previous supplementary budget which caused the delay of its operations, despite the opening of the satellite office in May, as the office has been made available to the public yet.
She disclosed that it was only recently that the supplementary budget was approved and it is now awaiting action from the executive office to be signed and for the fiscal management office in Manila for the procurement and delivery of the machines and other equipment to enable the office go through their normal work operation.
Although they had started occupying the regional consular office (RCO) at Robinson’s Place since May 19, the office was not yet opened to the public as they have yet to install the cables, the camera and other necessary gadgets for the biometric machines, which funds the DFA failed to appropriate earlier.
“Hopefully this August 2015 we will be able to update you on the status of the office’s operations when the machines needed would have been completed,” Gapuz said as she attributed the cause of delay to the change in administration of the DFA.
The DFA provincial satellite office has brought closer its services to Pangasinan through the establishment of a consular office last year in Calasiao.
Once operational, the RCO will become the first provincial satellite office in the country to rise outside of Metro Manila.
It is expected to cater not only to Pangasinenses but for everyone from the neighboring provinces who wish to transact with the DFA.
The services of the RCO include issuance of new passports, renewal of expired passports, replacement of lost, expired or mutilated passports and authentication of necessary documents.
Gapuz said the DFA office will initially start accepting at least 250 applications for its initial operation and later upgrade its services and increase the number of applicants it will be serving depending on the capability of its personnel.
She likewise assured the provincial government of Pangasinan through the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of their full service to the people of Pangasinan.