Is the DFA Online Passport Appointment System OK now?

In a Newsbytes.PH story “What’s wrong with the DFA’s Passport Appointment System?” published on January 12, 2018, we discussed the difficulties that people have experienced in trying to get slots for passport applications.

At that time, people expressed their frustration over the fact that practically all of the slots up to March were already gone.

Interestingly enough, a number of people based in Metro Manila said that they easily secured passport appointment slots with the help of travel agencies. There were also others who claimed that they resorted to transacting with “fixers.”

There were some people who said that travel agencies had been offering them slots but for fees ranging from P2,000 to P4,500 or even P5,000.

Just hours after that particular Newsbytes.PH report was published, there were once again slots available on the DFA Online Passport Appointment platform.

That same month, the DFA also launched its Passport on Wheels project, which had the agency doing pop-up passport application center in various areas.

We thought that was the end of all the problems with the DFA Online Passport Appointment System. However, we still see a lot of people expressing their frustration on social media.

Since our efforts to get official answers from the DFA have all been in vain in the past, we thank journalist Eunice Barbara C. Novio for allowing us to share the answer that she got from the government agency.

Screeenshot courtesy of Eunice Barbara C. Novio

We honestly don’t know what to make of the DFA’s answer. Isn’t digital technology supposed to make life easier? In any case, there are now so many Facebook pages now offering “passport assistance services.” These service providers claim to be able to book slots for people who have already been pushed to the point of desperation. Should we now call this progress?

While some people have gotten their passports, so many others are still wondering why getting a passports has become more complicated.

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