• Senate passes 10-year passport validity bill

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    THE passage of a bill making Philippine passports valid for 10 years will give much relief to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), according to Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara.

    “This measure will certainly give comfort to our OFWs. Often, they have to file a leave from work for them to be able to travel back and forth to the nearest Philippine Embassy or consular office to get their passports renewed,” Angara said in a statement on Monday after senators approved Senate Bill (SB) 1365, or the New Philippine Passport Act, on third and final reading, extending passports’ validity to 10 years.

    Angara expressed confidence that SB 1365 will easily hurdle the bicameral conference committee.

    Eighteen years after the passage of Republic Act 8239, or the Philippine Passport Act of 1996, there is obviously a compelling need to amend it to simplify the application process of the Department of Foreign Affairs since the number of passports issued by the DFA has been increasing by an annual average of 29.3 percent beginning 2010, he said.

    “It’s about time. We have to keep up with the standard practice of other countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, among others,” Angara added, referring to the 10-year validity of passports.

    NIKKI J. DE LOS REYES

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