MANILA, Philippines — A Mindanao lawmaker is urging the Department of Foreign Affairs to begin preparing to issue Philippine passports valid for up to 10 years, or double the current five.
“Hopefully by January 1, 2018 at the latest, everybody can start getting passports that are effective up to 10 years, in view of the forthcoming passage of the applicable legislation,” Surigao del Sur Representative Johnny Pimentel said of the proposed new Philippine Passport Act, of which he is among the principal authors.
The measure allows the DFA to lessen the period of validity for minors or whenever warranted by the national interest.
The House of Representatives approved the measure on third and final reading on February 13 and the Senate has approved it on second reading. It is expected to approve it on third and final reading before Congress adjourns on June 2.
Pimentel said his confidence was boosted by the designation of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano as Foreign Affairs secretary.
Cayetano, he said, championed the 10-year passport when he chaired the Senate foreign relations committee.
The number of passports issued by the DFA has been increasing by an annual average of 29.3 percent since 2010, Pimentel said.
In 2016 alone, the DFA processed a total of 3,123,004 applications for new passports, renewals or replacements.