by Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Win Gatchalian called on the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to address the apparent misinformation that have recently caused the influx of applicants for passport and apostille services that have been flocking and lining up all day and even staying overnight at the Aseana Business Park Office in Parañaque City.
Gatchalian expressed concern over the plight of those walk-in applicants who have been apparently lured by online fixers, scammers and irresponsible recruitment agencies due to misleading information on DFA’s walk-in policy.
“Heightened information dissemination is apparently needed to dissuade our kababayans from queueing at night and opting to sleep on the sidewalk overnight just to get a slot at the walk-in application. Their well-being should be our paramount concern,” the re-electionist senator said.
Gatchalian urged the DFA to make full use of social media platforms as well as mainstream media to enable applicants to be guided properly while it continues to address the cause of the misinformation.
Based on the preliminary investigation conducted by the DFA, several recruitment agencies urged the applicants to line up and stay overnight at DFA Aseana so that their travel documents could be expedited.
Appropriate sanctions, the senator said, should be imposed by the DFA on the erring recruitment agencies and file charges against fixers offering high fees to obtain passport and authentication appointment slots.
While only a limited number of walk-in applicants can be served daily for such services due to safety and health reasons, this type of accommodation is also offered at 10 consular offices such as SM Megamall, SM Manila, Robinson’s Star Mall, Alabang Town Center, Robinson’s Place Iloilo, Ali Mall Cubao, CSI Mall in La Union, SM City Davao, Pacific Mall Mandaue and SM Downtown Premier in Cagayan De Oro.
“Hindi kailangang magdusa ang mga kababayan natin para lamang mabigyan ng serbisyo ng gobyerno. Karapatan nilang maserbisyuhan bilang mga taxpayers. Hindi man kasalanan ng DFA ang mga pangyayaring nasaksihan natin nitong mga nakaraang araw, mandato nila na bigyan ng tamang gabay at tagubilin ang mga aplikante nang sa gayon ay maiwasan ang dagdag na gastusin at pahirap sa kanila,” Gatchalian said. (AI/MTVN)