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Overseas workers decry higher passport renewal cost with 3rd party service provider

PHILSTAR

FILIPINO workers based overseas denounced the government’s use of a third party service provider for the renewal of passports, which has bumped up costs.

“The third party may resolve the convenience concerns, but it is at the expense of our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) and migrants,” Joanna Concepcion, chairperson of Migrante International, said in a Viber call with BusinessWorld

Philippine embassies in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and the United States (US) have tapped e-Passport Renewal Centers (PaRC) to provide a faster, more convenient option for Filipinos to renew passports.

The price, however, is more than double through the PaRC service, according to Ms. Concepcion.

She cited that in Italy, passport renewals now cost EUR135 or about P7,688 from EUR54 or P3,064.

These fees are excessive and a burden especially at a time when migrant workers’ job security and wages are still affected by the coronavirus pandemic, she added. “It’s unjust.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has yet to respond to BusinessWorld’s request for comment.

Ms. Concepcion said, the government should do away with the third-party contracting service and instead reassess the factors that slow down the process of its appointment and passport renewal system.

“It is still the main responsibility of the DFA to provide renewal passport services as a service to Filipino nationals — this should not be outsourced to a private company,” she said. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

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