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PIA Press Release
2008/07/16

DFA to processes only machine-readable passports

by Prix D Banzon

Davao City (16 July) -- The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is only processing Machine Readable Passport required by international regulations to determine among others the authenticity of the passport holder in different airports and ports all over the world.

Daniel T. Te, director, DFA regional consular office of Davao at Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City's Café Rysus said their daily processing is pegged at 500 and applicant must report to their office both for new application or renewal to access the computer generated forms that requires the applicant's fingerprint and signature.

Te explained that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) required that all passport must bear machine readable zone (MRZ) inorder for the passport reader to quickly read the data stored.

The MRZ stores information of the passport holder including her or his photograph and other information about the person. The machine readable passport replaced those passports that record the hand written information of the person.

The ICAO is an agency of the United Nations and composed of 190 countries including the Philippines and all member countries of ICAO agreed to implement before April 2010.

The Philippines has launched MRP in June 2007 and the new system was set up in September 17, 2007.

Te said the MRP can't just be tampered as there are security markings that are embedded.

Te said the new system is also part of modernizing the system even as he said that the Davao office caters not only those coming from Davao City and the neighboring provinces but also in areas from the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao, and in provinces covered by Region XII to include the cities of Cotabato and General Santos.

Meanwhile he said that in order to serve more the clients in Southern Mindanao there are plans that passport offices will be opened in both areas (Cotabato and Gen San) even as he said that there are only four consular offices in Mindanao aside from Davao City the other offices are found in the cities of Butuan, Cagayan and Zamboanga. (PIA) [top]

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