MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) explained on Friday, April 27, why it has not opened passport appointment slots from July 2018 onwards.
In a public advisory, the DFA said this because it is still testing its ePayment system.
This system will allow passport applicants "to pay at a payment facility of their choice before going to any DFA Consular Office in the Philippines."
The DFA said it will open online appointment slots for the remaining months of 2018 once the ePayment system has been launched.
The DFA did not specify when it will launch the ePayment system.
The planned ePayment system comes as the DFA draws flak for its backlogs in processing Philippine passports, already the subject of congressional probes.
Read the DFA's full public advisory below:
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) wishes to inform the public that passport online appointment slots from July 2018 onwards have not been opened in preparation for the enhancement of the passport online appointment system through implementation of ePayment.
The ePayment will enable applicants to pay at a payment facility of their choice before going to any DFA Consular Office in the Philippines. This will make the passport application process faster by lessening the amount of time each applicant spends at a Consular Office. The ePayment will also minimize the number of no-show applicants and open more online appointment slots.
Pilot tests of ePayment are ongoing. Once ePayment is launched, online appointment slots for the remaining months of the year will be opened. In the meantime, the DFA continues to open slots for May and June.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.