DFA to open passport appointment slots for July to September – Rappler

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SUMMARY
This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced that starting Wednesday, May 2, it is opening passport appointment slots online for July to September 2018.

The passport appointment slots will be for all consular offices in the Philippines, except the DFA’s Aseana office in Parañaque City, said the DFA in a public advisory on Tuesday, May 1.
The DFA also stressed that the following can apply for or renew their passports, without an online appointment, at any DFA consular office: overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), senior citizens, persons with disability, solo parents, minors 7 years old and below, and people with urgent and emergency travels.
The DFA earlier said it was not yet opening passport appointment slots from July 2018 onwards because it was 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.”
In its public advisory on Tuesday, the DFA said the pilot testing of ePayment in DFA Aseana “is in the final stages.” The agency said it hopes the system will “materialize very soon.” 
The planned ePayment system comes as the DFA draws flak for its backlogs in processing Philippine passports, already the subject of congressional probes.
Read below the DFA’s full public advisory issued on Tuesday:
Beginning May 2, 2018, and every day thereafter, the Department of Foreign Affairs will open passport online appointment slots for July to September 2018 for consular offices in the Philippines with the exception of DFA Aseana in Parañaque City. 
The pilot testing of ePayment in DFA Aseana is in the final stages. Once finalized — and we hope this to materialize very soon — ePayment will be fully implemented in all consular offices beginning with DFA Aseana. 
The pilot tests have shown promising results. Show-up rates have risen to 95% and above, minimizing the number of slots wasted through non-appearance. There are no bogus appointments as applicants now have to pay before an appointment is confirmed. The time applicants spend at DFA has been reduced considerably, with ePayment decreasing the usual processing time.
The DFA seeks the public’s understanding and cooperation as we continue to implement measures to improve our passporting services and increase our capacity to serve applicants. 
The DFA reminds the public that OFWs, senior citizens, persons with disability, solo parents, minors 7 years old and below, and those with emergency and urgent travels may apply for or renew their passports at any consular office, including DFA Aseana, without an online appointment. 
– Rappler.com
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