DFA NorMin releases 56,183 passports in 2007
by Rutchie Cabahug Aguhob
Cagayan de Oro City (29 February) -- A total of 56,183 passports has been issued by the Regional Consular Office (RCO), Dept. of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Northern Mindanao, last year.
Of this number, 51,526 passports were issued under the green passport system and 4,657 under the machine readable passport (MRP) system which was implemented on Nov. 22, 2007, Regional Director Mardomel Celo M. Melicor of RCO-10, said.
The highest number of passports were issued during the month of March with 6,018 followed by July with 5,742, August, 5,189, May, 4,829, January, 4,769, September, 4,744, February, 4,456, June, 4,291, October 4,132 and April, 3,882.
About 4,453 passports were issued in November, of which green passports numbered 3,452 while MRP totaled 1,001. Also issued in December were 3,678 passports of which green passports numbered 22 and MRP totaled 3,656.
On the other hand, passports issued through the Mobile Passport Services (MPS) also show the following data: Marawi City, 1,937; Ozamiz City, 775; Butuan City, 1,491; Surigao City, 1,066; Iligan City, 1,049; Oroquieta City, 518 and Dapa, Surigao del Norte, 198.
Meanwhile, the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Foundation (Oro Chamber) has requested Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo to invest in equipments needed to capacitate all RCOs to effectively serve the passport needs of local businessmen and professionals.
This, after they learned that the new "maroon" MRP's which has replaced the green passport system would take 15 working days or three (3) weeks for express and 25 working days or five (5) weeks for regular passports before applicants can get them.
Mainly, the long days of waiting for the passports to be released is because printing of the MRP's is centralized in Manila resulting in a slight increase in passport application.
"On the average, we now receive about 230-240 passport applications daily compared to 200 per day before the MRP was implemented and due to the longer time or delayed release, proportion of express to regular processing applications has risen," Melicor said.
Added to this is the lack of personal computers (PCs) with high quality laser printers to print the machine-generated application forms (MGAF) because RCO-10 has only five (5) of these machines and three (3) printers.
Thus, it has been recommended that passport production for Mindanao RCOs be centralized either in Davao or Cagayan de Oro to avoid overcrowding in Manila.
Another recommendation is for the RCOs to implement the passport appointment system where applicants will just be informed when to come back to get their passports, Melicor added. (PIA 10) [top]