(Source: PTV News | June 2, 2018)
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has entered into partnership agreements with SM Prime Holdings and the Gaisano Group for a rent-free hosting of four more consular offices.
In a statement, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano thanked the two for expanding their partnership with the agency.
“We expect to serve the public better and quicker with the opening of these additional consular offices that would be hosted by our private sector partners at no cost to the government,” Cayetano said.
The new passport offices will be located at SM City Dasmariñas, Cavite; SM City San Pablo, Laguna: SM Cherry Foodarama Antipolo, Rizal; and the Gaisano Mall in Tagum City.
The signing of the Public-Private Partnership agreements follows the DFA inauguration of new consular offices at the Robinsons Malls in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, Santiago City, Isabela, and Tacloban City in Leyte.
On Thursday, the agency revealed three other consular offices are being eyed in Malolos City, Bulacan; Paniqui, Tarlac; and Ozamiz City or Oroquieta City in Mindanao.
According to DFA Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Frank Cimafranca, the opening of new offices will significantly boost the agency’s efforts to improve its capacity to meet the unprecedented surge in passport demand.
Aside from opening new consular offices, Cimafranca said the DFA has also doubled the number of vans for its Passport on Wheels Program and expanded its Mobile Outreach Services to allow it to accommodate more passport applicants, not only in Metro Manila but in the provinces as well.
Its main passport office in Aseana, Parañaque City has also been doing Saturday work since January.
“We can be expected to continue our efforts to not only increase our passport production capacity but also make our consular services more accessible to the public,” he said.
The signing of the memorandum of agreement with DFA, SM and Gaisano was held at the DFA main office in Roxas Blvd. on May 31.
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