DFA limits consular services to ‘urgent needs’ during Metro Manila lockdown

Sofia Tomacruz

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DFA limits consular services to ‘urgent needs’ during Metro Manila lockdown
Applicants with confirmed passport appointments from March 9 to April 14 will be accommodated after the quarantine period ends

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced on Saturday, March 14, that consular services will be limited to individuals with “urgent needs” while government work in the executive branch is suspended to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.  

In an advisory on Saturday, the DFA said it would prioritize services to overseas Filipino workers and individuals with medical cases as a skeletal workforce would be put in place beginning Monday, March 16, until April 14.  

“This temporary arrangement is in accordance with the Stringent Social Distancing Measures in the National Capital Region imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases,” DFA said.  

The DFA advised applicants who have no urgent need for consular services, including those with confirmed appointments, to postpone their visits to consular offices until the quarantine period is lifted.  

Applicants with confirmed passport appointments since Monday, March 9, and were not able to appear due to coronavirus-related concerns will be accommodated from April 15 until May 29, 2020 during regular office hours from Monday to Friday. 

The DFA said those seeking authentication and civil registration services should likewise avail of these after the end of the quarantine period. 

Temporary schedule: The DFA said the following schedule for its consular offices (COs) in Metro Manila will be observed: 

  • DFA CO in NCR-Central (Robinson’s Galleria): Mondays to Fridays, from 8 am to 2 pm;
  • DFA Office of Consular Affairs in ASEANA Business Park: Mondays to Fridays, from 8 am to 2 pm;
  • All the other COs in Metro Manila: Mondays to Fridays, from 11 am to 5 pm.

The DFA said there will be no Saturday operations nationwide beginning March, 21 2020 until further notice.

The DFA said applicants with questions or emergencies may get in touch with the Consular Office where their appointment was scheduled. They can also email oca.concerns@dfa.gov.ph or call 8651 9400 for questions or inquiries.

As of Saturday, the Philippines counted 64 confirmed coronavirus cases, 6 of whom have died. – Rappler.com

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers defense and foreign affairs. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz.