BAGUIO CITY – Cordillera Administrative Region – Children who are travelling abroad alone or with companion other than their parents should secure a travel clearance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) here before applying for the children’s passport in the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
“Aside from the travel clearance being a DFA requirement, securing a travel clearance shall protect the children from the threat of human trafficking.” DSWD Regional Director Janet P. Armas shared.
Human trafficking or trafficking in persons is an act of recruitment, transportation, transfer, or receipt of persons by means of threat or coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power, or compensation, with or without the consent of the person for the purpose of exploitation.
In the issuance of clearance for minors travelling abroad, the children’s parents or legal guardians are required to submit documents to the DSWD to ensure that the travel to be undertaken is favorable to the minor’s safety and well-being. The assigned social worker assesses the documents and recommends the approval or disapproval of the request for a travel clearance.
For the 1st quarter of 2015, DSWD here was able to issue 237 travel clearances. Most of which declare the purpose of travel as to visit or to have vacation with parents/ relatives and travel or leisure. Hong Kong is noted to be the top destination for the minors.
Meanwhile, Minors Travelling Abroad Section (MTA) Focal Person Julie Balagot reminded the applicants to secure all necessary documents when filing for a travel clearance to facilitate the process. “The processing and release of travel clearance usually takes 3-5 days, but due to incomplete documents, some applications take longer. So, we encourage our clients to complete the necessary documents before filing,” Balagot added.
Among the requirements in securing a travel clearance include duly accomplished application form, photocopy of the birth certificate or passport of minor, written consent of both parents, solo parent or legal guardian permitting the child to travel alone or with someone else, two colored passport size photos of the minor taken within the last six months, and a photocopy of the following whichever is applicable, marriage certificate of minor’s parents, certificate of legal guardianship, solo parent identification card issued by the local social welfare and development office or death certificate of deceased parent of minor.
The application form can already be downloaded from www.dswd.gov.ph. Application for travel clearance can then be filed at the DSWD – Field Office Cordillera Administrative Region or in the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Offices (PSWDOs) in their areas. A processing fee of P300.00 is required for a travel clearance valid for one year and P600.00 for a travel clearance valid for two years.
For queries and concerns, applicants may visit the DSWD- Field Office at #40 North Drive, Baguio City (near NBI and BIR) or call (074) 444-3209. Applicants in the provinces may also visit the PSWDOs in their respective areas.