Warning aired vs e-passport with altered materials
Filipinos traveling abroad may run into trouble due to alleged unauthorized changes in materials and security features of the new digital passport, according to an anticorruption watchdog.
Lawyer Argee Guevarra, a co-founder of the Action for Good Governance, said a private firm contracted by state-owned printer APO Production Unit Inc. has been producing e-passports with materials different from what had been used previously.
This may lead immigration authorities abroad to suspect OFWs of using spurious travel documents, said Guevarra, also a former member of the militant group Sanlakas.
“The unique formulation and design of these materials are security features in themselves, much like the paper and ink used for Philippine currency,” Guevarra said in his statement.
The lawyer said changes in the materials used in manufacturing e-passports should be authorized by APO and the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Altering the material of e-passports, he said, may prompt the documents “to be mistaken as fake.”
Such would be “a nightmare” for OFWs who may end up jobless or detained in foreign lands, according to Guevarra.
He asked Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano to look into the issue./rga
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