Consular officials told to improve services to public

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07:05 PM March 30th, 2013

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By: Tarra Quismundo, March 30th, 2013 07:05 PM

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario: Full responsibility. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario has asked consular officers at the Department of Foreign Affairs 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  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,” the DFA in a statement.

During the meeting, consular officers discussed possible steps to take to enhance services along the lines of “operational imperatives,” encapsulated in DFA’s catch phrases “reaching beyond one’s grasps” and “serving with a smile.”

Foreign Undersecretary Rafael Seguis told consular officers that the public “has high expectations” with respect to 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.

Just 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 daily at its consular offices, mall-based passport centers and foreign posts, according to DFA figures.

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