DFA to replace for free substandard passports issued in 2010
MANILA, Philippines — Citing a “hiccup” in the production of e-passports four years ago, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Tuesday, that it would replace free of charge substandard passports issued in 2010, including those that lost covers due to defective processing.
Assistant Secretary Charles Jose, the DFA spokesperson, said on Tuesday, that an estimated 10,000 passports released in 2010 — a series that included Passport Numbers EB0000001 to EB1267350 — have been reported damaged and readily replaced.
“Maybe for that particular batch… there was a problem in that series. We have identified that it was a series [of passports] in 2010. [The advisory on replacement] is only for that,” said Jose in a press briefing on Tuesday.
“Even the big car manufacturers, they recall every now and then some defective units… These things happen, but it’s not an excuse. But the more important thing is we have recognized the problem and we are addressing the problem,” he said.
The official said complaints the DFA received usually involved detached covers. The cover of the Philippine passport bares the electronic chip that contains the biometric data of the owner.
He said the problem was not systemic and that the DFA was not undertaking any investigation, as no further reports have cropped up. He added that materials and machines used in passport production passed through the “stringent and rigorous” government procurement system.
“It’s just a hiccup,” he said.
“We have been addressing this problem. Out of the more than 10 million e-passports issued from August 2009 until March this year, there were only about even less than 10,000 damaged passports that were brought to the attention of the DFA. So that’s even less than 1 percent. That’s a very small number,” Jose told reporters.
He said the DFA would replace for free through express processing (seven days) passports proven to be substandard.
Those whose passports were damaged as a “result of wear and tear” and those seeking replacement but would not want to surrender their damaged passport must pay for a new one.
To apply for replacement, those with damaged 2010 passports may proceed to the Office of Consular Affairs in Macapagal Avenue, Parañaque City or the satellite or regional consular office nearest them.
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