DFA warns public anew vs. passport appointment scams

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has warned the public against advertisements on social media perpetrated by unscrupulous individuals that offer passport appointment slots and fake or tampered appointment documents in exchange for payment.

Several cases of fake documents from unwitting applicants who have claimed to have secured them through social media have turned up at the DFA in recent weeks.

Demand for passport services has become pronounced as the DFA’s consular offices in the region, mostly located inside malls, have had to cease operations in line with the declaration of enhanced community quarantine and modified ECQ in the NCR Plus area in March and April, resulting in limited passport appointment slots.

While the DFA was able to offer over 13,000 passport appointment slots per day before the pandemic, only 6,100 slots per day are available now because of restrictions in venue capacity and strict implementation of health and safety protocols.

“We want to assure the public that 10 temporary satellite offices will be opened very soon to create additional passport appointment slots,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Affairs Brigido Dulay said in a news release issued Monday.

He added the opening of temporary satellite offices would create an additional 2,500 slots in Metro Manila initially and another 2,500 in other regions experiencing high demand.

The DFA continues to provide courtesy lane access to qualified applicants such as overseas Filipino workers with urgent need to travel, pregnant, elderly and minor applicants, as well as persons with disability and solo parents while physical distancing and health protocols remain in place.

However, these appointments have to be scheduled through the DFA online appointment system.

The department reminded the public that only appointments secured from the official website, which is www.passport.gov.ph, will be honored. (PR)

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