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Philippine consulate launches early passport renewal drive

By Lily B. Libo-on (Our staff reporter) / 22 June 2008

DUBAI - The Philippine consulate-general in Dubai is launching an extensive information campaign directed at sponsors in Dubai and the Northern Emirates to check the validity of the passports of their Filipino employees and apply soon for renewal of passports that would be expiring in the next six months.

Consul-General Benito B. Valeriano said the Philippine government does not impose any restrictions on early renewal of the Philippine passports so much so that sponsors can always renew early at their convenience.

The early passport renewal drive is intended to resolve problems that may crop up at the last-minute renewals because the new Machine-Readable Passport (MRP) is printed in Manila.

In the past, Consul Valeriano said, the sponsors just showed up at the consulate on either the day of expiry or a few days before.

"We were trying to accommodate them, especially if they still had to proceed to the Immigration to renew the residence visa of their employees. Previously, it was manageable and could be processed urgently as the old Green passport was handscripted," he stressed.

With the introduction of MRP, the consulate can no longer issue a new passport on urgent request as processing and printing takes 30 days from the day of filing of application.

Earlier, Minister and Consul-General Noel Servigon at the Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi, said that efforts were being made to reduce the month-long waiting period, which is mainly due to the fact that the new MRP is printed in Manila. "The applicant's old passport will be cancelled only upon receipt of the new MRP," he added.

He also said the Philippine embassy may issue to the applicants a letter regarding this waiting time for presentation to their sponsors and to the authorities.

But, there could be delays in the stamping of new visa in cases where the Immigration refuses to do it on expiring passports and worst if there is no passport to be presented to the Immigration and Labour during the long waiting period before the new passport reaches the applicant.  "The Philippine diplomatic missions around the world can only receive the applications and forward them to Manila on a daily basis now," Consul Valeriano said.

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