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FACT CHECK: Improved PH passport ranking not due to Duterte’s extension of validity period


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FACT CHECK: Improved PH passport ranking not due to Duterte’s extension of validity period
The Henley Passport Index ranks passports based on the number of countries its bearers can access without a visa, not on the passports’ validity period

Claim: The Philippines’ improved ranking in the 2024 Henley Passport Index is due to the extension of the passport validity period to 10 years, which was introduced under the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in a January 13 post on X (formerly Twitter) by an account with almost 7,000 followers. As of writing, the post has received 258 likes, 67 reposts, and 206 replies. 

The post included a screenshot of a news report headline along with the caption: “This happened because of the 10-year validity period of the PH passport implemented during the Duterte administration. Ito ang totoong gawa hindi lang salita. Tatak Duterte kasi (This is real action, not all talk. Duterte’s legacy indeed).” 

The facts: A passport’s validity period is not among the criteria used by global residence and investment firm Henley & Partners to determine a country’s ranking in its Passport Index, its senior consultant Gregory James Dy confirmed to Rappler.

According to its official website, the Henley Passport Index ranks passports based on the total number of destinations its holders can access visa-free. For each destination, a score of 1 is given to a certain passport if no visa is required for its holders. The same score is given if passport holders can obtain a visa on arrival, a visitor’s permit, or an electronic travel authority when entering a destination. 

Meanwhile, a score of 0 is assigned to a passport if a visa is required or a government-approved electronic visa is needed before departure. The same applies “if passport holders need pre-departure government approval for a visa on arrival.”  

Passport ranking improvement: The Philippine passport was ranked 73rd in the 2024 index released on January 11, climbing five spots from the previous year. According to the index, Philippine passport holders can visit 69 destinations visa-free. Tied with the Philippines are Cape Verde Islands and Uganda. 

France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, and Spain were ranked the most powerful passports with 194 visa-free destinations, while Afghanistan placed last with 28 destinations. 

The Philippines’ best performance in the ranking was from 2007 to 2009 when it ranked 62nd.

The Henley Passport Index uses data from the International Air Transport Authority to rank 199 passports against 227 possible travel destinations.

10-year validity: On August 2, 2017, Duterte signed into law Republic Act 10928 extending for 10 years the validity of regular passports for citizens who are at least 18 years old. (READ: 10-year passport validity begins January 2018)

Before the passage of the law, passports were valid for only five years. – Larry Chavez/Rappler.com

Larry Chavez is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program.

This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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