Friday, July 29, 2016

Bicolanos praise passport validity extension plan under Duterte administration
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, July 28 (PNA) -- “On the clamor of our citizens for timely issuance of Philippine passports, the government shall work towards amendment of the 1996 Passport Law to lengthen the validity of the passports from the current 5 years to 10 years.”

This was the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte as part of his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday.

In Bicol, first-time passport applicant Sharahden Destura, 27, an employee of the Legazpi City government, who intends to go to Guam, said she felt “happy and excited” to have heard from President Duterte that the validity of the passport will be extended from five years to ten years.

On Wednesday morning, two days since the SONA of President Duterte, Destura went to the office of the Department of Foreign Affairs located at the fourth floor of the Metro Gaisano Mall, which is in the Central Business District of this city.

“After a two-hour transaction, I was given a receipt with an appointment date, that said I need to come back on August 5, 2016 to get my new passport,” she said in a text message.

Melanie Ibardaloza, 29, a nurse, currently working as a “quality improvement and patient safety officer” at the Sharourah General Hospital in Najran, Saudi Arabia, has just renewed her passport last June when she came for a vacation to her native province of Catanduanes.

She has been working for the last five years in Saudi Arabia. Ibardaloza has since returned to work after her vacation in Catanduanes last June.

On the President’s plan to extend the validity of passports up to 10 years, Ibardaloza, in a text message, said she is “confident I could travel and work abroad for it (passport) will not expire even if I am out of the country.” (PNA) LAP/GVR/CBD