Hundreds of Ilocos Sur residents on Tuesday availed of the mobile passport services of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), in partnership with the provincial government and the University of Northern Philippines (UNP) Federated Alumni Association.
Held at the UNP Gymnasium in Tamag, Vigan City, the two-day pre-application period for new and old passport applicants began on Monday and ends Tuesday.
Princess dela Cruz from Magsingal town said she has been waiting for the return of the “Passport on Wheels” in Vigan for so long because it saves her the hassle of securing an online appointment and traveling a long distance to renew her passport.
“Thank you to the DFA’s Passport on Wheels, I am excited to travel again,” she said.
Dela Cruz was one of the early birds who queued up for the pre-passport application where documentary requirements were checked on Tuesday.
Michael Ryan Astom, president of the Tour Guides Association of Ilocos Sur, Inc. said the Passport on Wheels is one of the most sought-after services of the DFA in the province.
On the first day, a total of 383 applicants from various parts of the province were served from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Applicants with complete documentary requirements will be scheduled for processing at the same venue on May 10-11.
The Passport on Wheels program is rolled out in Ilocos Sur once a year.
“This is something that we have been working on for years now with the DFA in order to serve our constituents and lessen their burden in going to the regional office in La Union to secure their passport,” Vice Governor Ryan Singson said in an earlier interview.
Even during the pandemic, the demand for passport services remained high in this northern part of Luzon, especially after the rollout of new passports with a 10-year validity.
As part of the government’s commitment to bring its services closer to the people, the DFA continues to partner with interested local government units, schools and other organizations to provide mobile passport services.
The Passport on Wheels service or mobile passport program can be availed of by sending a written request to the Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs of the DFA via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. (PNA)