Applicants for passport renewal shouldn't be burdened by providing copy of birth certificate, Palace says
Malacanang said on Monday the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) should not burden the Filipinos applying for the renewal of their passports copy of their birth certificate despite the reported passport data mess.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the DFA should investigate.
"Applicants should not be burdened by submitting original copies of their certificates of live birth, obtaining which requires another application process before the Philippine Statistics Authority, to renew their passports just because the producer lost their relevant data," he said in a statement.
"The submission of the old or current passport which the applicant seeks to renew should suffice for the purpose," he added.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier disclosed that the former private contractor for the production of passports had taken data of passport holders due to the abrupt termination of the contract.
Panelo said an investigation should be conducted to determine who got the data as it was not sure if it was the Francois - Charles Oberthur Fiduciare or the United Graphic Expression Corporation.
FCOC was the private firm tapped by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to print the passports prior to taking over of APO Production Unit Inc. (APUI), a government printing facility, in October 2015. APUI, for its part, has gotten the services of UGEC, also a private firm.
Former DFA Secretary Perfecto Yasay said APUI and UGEC took over the printing of passports despite the subsisting contract between the BSP and FCOC.
Locsin indicated in his earlier Twitter posts that it was FCOC, which took all the data after it got pissed off due to the termination of the contract.
Panelo said requiring the applicants renewing the passport for copies of birth certificate could be considered as a form of red tape.
"The ongoing practice is not only cumbersome to everyone affected but is a form of red tape which this administration frowns upon and will not tolerate," he said.
He said the Palace would not treat the issue lightly.
Aside from the National Privacy Commission's move to investigate the incident, Panelo said that the DFA should also look into the matter.
Locsin earlier said that the DFA's primary concern is to fast-track the release of passports.
If there is a need for prosecution, he said it would be up to the Department of Justice or the Senate if it wishes to conduct an investigation. Celerina Monte/DMS