FILIPINOS who will apply for passports starting this week will get new Philippine “e-passports” that contain new designs and improved security features.
Charles Jose, spokesman and assistant secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), on Thursday introduced the features of the new e-passports.
Its 44 pages showcase the country’s rich culture and heritage, with security features that remain consistent with the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization.
“So it’s really difficult if not impossible to fake this passport,” Jose told reporters in a news conference. “Even the design is an added security feature. It is more elaborate and therefore it is harder to copy.”
Despite the improvements, the price of passports remains the same: P950 for regular processing and P1,200 for rush.
Jose clarified that old passports remain valid for a five-year period and the public need not apply for new e-passports.
The release of new e-passports comes amid the charges filed against former DFA secretaries Albert del Rosario and Alberto Romulo for allegedly entering into an anomalous deal with APO Production Unit, Inc.
APO, the printing company that manufactures Philippine passports, started printing the new e-passports last Monday.
Apart from the e-passport’s changes, the DFA and APO have implemented an improved and organized appointment system that is expected to decrease crowding in consular offices.
Improvements under the new system include faster and more efficient enrollment and personalization processes.
Processing time for passports will be cut down to 10 days from 14 days for regular processing, and to five days from seven days for express lanes.