MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario has urged consular officers at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to “strive harder” in providing services to the public even as he noted improvements in the agency’s passport processing and authentication systems.
At a recent consultation meeting with consular officers at the DFA, Del Rosario called on his frontliners to step up efforts to enhance consular services, saying “there is still room for improvement” in areas that have garnered mixed reviews from the public.
“The Secretary noted that while there were significant improvements in the delivery of passport services to the public as manifested by positive feedback he had been receiving, there is still room for improvement. Secretary Del Rosario exhorted the [consular officers] to strive harder to provide better services to the public,” said the DFA in a statement.
During the meeting, consular officers discussed possible steps to take enhance services along the lines of “operational imperatives,” encapsulated in DFA’s catch phrases “reaching beyond one’s grasps” and “serving with a smile.”
DFA Undersecretary Rafael Seguis meanwhile told consular officers that the public “has high expectations” on the quality of their services.
Officials also discussed issues like passport fraud and irregularities in document authentication, human trafficking, assistance to nationals and public diplomacy among others.
In January, the DFA suspended e-passport releasing for a few days due to a “machine breakdown” in its centralized passport production system at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
The foreign office processes up to 11,000 passport applications at its consular offices, mall-based passport centers and foreign posts, according to DFA figures.