The Philippine Senate passed the third and final reading of the bill on the new Philippine passport law last September 25, under the 19th Congress, Senate Bill No. (SBN) 2001, or the proposed New Philippine Passport Act
According to the press release by the Senate, the new Philippine passport law will make way for a new generation of passports at par with international standards, breaking down the passport application process and consistently maintaining the integrity and security of the country's passports.
The Philippine passport bill, now a law, also allows eligible individuals such as migrant workers and senior citizens to virtually renew their passports without needing their appearance at consular offices while renewing their passports and granting travel documents.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) authorizes Philippine consular officials outside the Philippines to issue, deny, or cancel a passport in the area of jurisdiction of the Foreign Service Post.
The bill shall also institutionalize the DFA’s offsite and mobile passport services. It will be made through an online application portal and electronic one-stop-shop that will be established and available on the DFA’s website to facilitate convenience of passport application and ease in submission of requirements.
Lost Filipino passports shall be replaced with emergency passports, valid for one year. The bill also proposes the ‘Passport Revolving Fund’. This proposed fund will be sourced from the service fees charged from passport processing and issuance done within special consideration or those issued and processed beyond regular office hours. The Congress shall review the disbursement and use of the fund yearly.
Aside from the passport holder’s biographic, biometric, and demographic data, a record of passport denials, cancellations, and lost passports are all contained in a passport database established under Senate Bill 2001. SB 2001 provides a more simplified passport application process, improves the general public's access, and maintains the security and integrity of the Philippine passport.
A ‘watchlist database’ will also be created under this Philippine passport act to contain the information of persons whose passport applications have been denied or canceled and those who tried to violate the passport law.
Some sections of the law will be retained, such as the 10-year validity of passports of Filipino adults and the five-year validity of Filipinos under 18 years old.
As for applicants who cannot read nor write, persons with disabilities (PWDs), and senior citizens can be assisted by a relative within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity or by an authorized travel companion. Minors should also be accompanied by someone exercising parental authority under relevant domestic laws. Such contentions are also included under the Philippine Passport Act.
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