DFA: 11 more passport offices in malls to be opened before year ends
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) plans to set up at least 11 more consular offices in shopping malls to deliver passport and other services.
DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario disclosed this after inaugurating the new DFA consular office at the upscale MarQuee Mall in Angeles City in Pampanga.
“Before the end of the year, we will have at least 14 mall-based passport offices serving the public in Metro Manila and other parts of the country. By 2014, we should have 30 such facilities operating in shopping malls across the country,” he said in a news release.
The Angeles City-based office is the third mall-based consular facility in the country and one of 30 such facilities the DFA plans to open in the next two years.
Hosted by Ayala Land, DFA Angeles is one of the largest mall-based consular offices with a floor area of 811 square meters. It can accommodate at least 500 passport applicants per day.
Del Rosario said this was part of a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement with Pacific Mall Corp., Robinsons Land Corp., Ayala Land Inc. and SM Prime Holdings.
He added the public can expect better consular services and facilities by December, when at least 11 more passport offices in shopping malls nationwide are opened.
Before the end of the year, the DFA plans to open offices at:
- Robinsons Galleria
- Robinsons Lipa
- Robinsons Bacolod
- Robinsons Dumaguete
- Robinsons General Santos
- SM Megamall
- SM Manila
- SM Baguio
- SM Davao
- Pacific Mall Legazpi
- Metro Gaisano Alabang.
Already set up are passport offices at the Pacific Mall in Cebu, Robinsons Starmills in San Fernando, Pampanga, and MarQuee Mall.
“Our PPPs with our partners not only allowed the Department to provide much-needed comfort and convenience to passport applicants but also saved for the national government an initial P1.14 billion in operating costs over the next 10 years,” del Rosario said.
Del Rosario said they plan to set up passport offices in Laoag, Batangas, Iloilo, Tacloban, Puerto Princesa, Butuan and Cagayan de Oro before 2014.
Last week, the DFA concluded negotiations for the hosting of consular offices at the Pacific Mall in Legazpi and at Metro Gaisano at the Ayala Town Center in Alabang.
“As part of our efforts to further serve the public, these mall-based consular offices will process passport applications from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays to Saturdays. We will also be open half-days on Sundays to let applicants claim their passports,” Del Rosario said.
He also said he approved last month a new set of guidelines that would allow us to further improve the delivery of services.
“By December, we hope to put in place a dedicated call center that would allow applicants to schedule the time and day they prefer to be served at any of our consular locations in Metro Manila and other parts of the country. With this, we hope to finally be able to deal with the long lines that have become synonymous with the passport application process,” he said.
During the inauguration, del Rosario also received the Citizen’s Satisfaction Center Seal of Excellence Award from Civil Service Commission (CSC) Chairman Francisco Duque III for the satisfaction rating of the DFA Clark Satellite Office, now DFA Angeles.
It was the second Seal of Excellence Award received by the DFA since last year when the Regional Consular Office in Tacloban was presented with the same award. - VVP, GMA News