MANILA — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) warns 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 ECQ and MECQ in the NCR Plus area in March and April, resulting in limited passport appointment slots.
While the DFA was able to offer over thirteen thousand 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 such as physical distancing.
“We want to assure the public that ten temporary satellite offices will be opened very soon to create additional passport appointment slots,” said Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Affairs Brigido J. Dulay.
The Undersecretary also said the opening of temporary satellite offices will create an additional 2,500 slots in Metro Manila initially and another 2,500 in other regions experiencing a high demand.
The DFA continues to provide courtesy lane access to qualified applicants such as OFWs 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 affirms and reminds the public that only appointments secured from the official website, which is http://www.passport.gov.ph, will be honored. (AI/MTVN)