THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will decongest its Office of Consular Affairs (OCA) in ASEANA Business Park by moving some transactions to a nearby building, as part of measures to deliver consular services to the public despite strict Covid-related restrictions still in place.
The OCA in ASEANA Business Park is relocating the passport-releasing site to the DoubleDragon Plaza in Pasay City. Passports will be released at the site from Mondays to Fridays (except public holidays), 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM, DFA announced.
The Department is also gearing up for the opening of more Temporary Offsite Passport Services (TOPS) sites in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other provinces in order to relieve the pressure on OCA ASEANA and its 36 consular offices nationwide.
OCA said that the long lines was due to the transfer of passport appointments to the main office in ASEANA from consular offices in the NCR that had to temporarily close for disinfection.
The situation was aggravated by the big number of applicants who were personally picking up their passports at the DFA following the severance of relations with the Department’s previous courier service provider.
Over 2,000 passports were rendered undeliverable due to erroneous addresses or the lack of authorization letters from applicants who were not personally present at their declared addresses. Said passports were then turned over to the DFA for release to the applicants themselves.
OCA is doing its best to serve clients in a timely manner, DFA said, and there is no need to go to DFA ASEANA very early in the morning to be able to avail oneself of consular services within the day.
Meanwhile, OCA experienced a significant reduction in its on-site personnel following a spate of Covid-19 positive cases among its staff. This personnel and their close contacts within the offices were required to observe home isolation and be tested again before returning to work.
The Department sought the public’s cooperation as it strives to deliver passport services to the public while ensuring the public’s safety and health.