WATCH: Philippines gets more secure, beautiful new passport

WATCH: Philippines gets more secure, beautiful new passport
Philippine Consul General Paul Raymond Cortes unveils the new design of the e-passport at the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai. Photo by Dhes Handumon

Dubai - The new e-passport is tamper-proof, with a lot of secure details, and its validity is still five years

By Angel Tesorero

Published: Tue 16 Aug 2016, 8:27 PM

Last updated: Wed 17 Aug 2016, 8:52 AM

A new "visually-striking and highly-secured" Philippine e-passport will be rolled out in the next 10 days, said Filipino consular officials who unveiled a specimen copy to reporters on Monday.
"There is now greater protection and security for our passport, which used to be notoriously tampered with," said Paul Raymund Cortes, the Philippines' consul-general to Dubai and the northern emirates. "We've added features to make the (Philippines) passport 'untamperable' and not at risk of being duplicated or faked.
"Most likely, those who applied last month - at least some of them - will get the new e-passport which will arrive in the next 10 days," Cortes added.
The Philippines first issued electronic or e-passports back in 2009; prior to that, details of the passport holder were manually written on the document, and covered with a thin transparent film, which made it easy to alter.

"(But) now it will be very difficult to tamper with the pages," said Consul Ferdinand Flores. "We cannot give out the specific security details. What we can say is that aside from the microchip, there are microprints, ethnic-design prints, and UV marks.
"We can also proudly say that we have one of the most beautiful passports available in the world now, something every Filipino can be proud of," Flores said.
Watch video demo of new Philippines passport
A brand, new-look passport
The cost of getting a new e-passport is the same (Dh240), and its validity is still five years. Regular passports are maroon-coloured, while those for diplomatic and government officials are blue and red respectively. Details such as complete name, date of birth, place and date of issuance are also listed in the new e-passport, according to consular officials.
Cortes clarified that the validity of the new e-passport is still only five years, as a new law - to implement the proposal of President Rodrigo Duterte to extend the validity to 10 years - is yet to be passed by Congress.

"It will be very difficult to tamper with the pages. We cannot give out specific security details. but aside from the microchip, there are microprints, ethnic-design prints, and UV marks." - Consul Ferdinand Flores
Aside from making the new e-passport tamper-proof, each leaf of the 44-page document depicts Philippine artefacts, cultural icons, historic places, renowned tourist destinations, and even lyrics of the Philippine national anthem.
Printed prominently on the inside front cover is the Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), the national bird and one of the rarest species in the world. Also known as the Philippine monkey-eating eagle, it is native to forests in the southern Philippines.
Shown on one of the pages is the Manunggul Jar, a burial jar that dates back to the Neolithic era and excavated from a Manunggul cave in Palawan dating from 890-710 BCE (before the common era). There is also 'baybayin,' an ancient Philippines and pre-colonial script derived from the Brahmi script of India, and first recorded in the 16th century.
UNESCO-declared historic sites such as the streets of Vigan, Ilocos Sur, as well as the island of Palawan - declared one the most beautiful islands in the world - are also prominently displayed in the passport.
Cortes also reminded his kabayans (compatriots) to hold on to their passports with "due respect."
"Do not give your passport to anybody, especially to loan sharks, as a collateral just because you want to get some money. A passport is government property and they (loan sharks) do not own your identity," he stated.
And who will get the first Philippine e-passport? That's still a surprise, says Flores. "Back in 2009, when we introduced the e-passport, it was then president Gloria Arroyo who received the first e-passport. But now I hope an OFW (overseas Filipino worker) will get first this beautiful new passport."
A cultural document - the new passport depicts:. The national bird, the Philippine eagle
. Manunggul burial Jar dating 890-710 BCE
. UNESCO heritage sites Vigan, Ilocos
. Palawan island
. Ancient Baybayin script

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