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DFA-Basilan gov't passport services gains headway

GOVERNANCE/POLITICS • 16:45 PM Sat Aug 24, 2019
John M. Unson
Application for passports at the Basilan capitol are open during workdays.

BASILAN  - More than a thousand residents have benefited from the joint passport processing program of the office of Gov. Jim Salliman and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The provincial government, permitted by DFA on special arrangement, has been facilitating since early 2019 applications for passports by residents in 11 towns in Basilan and in its component cities, Lamitan and Isabela.

In a statement Saturday, Salliman’s office said more than 1,000 residents have recently been awarded with passports by the DFA through the efforts of the provincial government.

“The final approval of the passport applications is sole authority of DFA. We are only helping facilitate applications," Salliman said.

Close to a thousand applies for passports at the provincial capitol in Isabela City every month but only 300 applications gets approved by DFA every 60 days owing to the extensive screening of requisite documents and a check on the background of each applicant by provincial employees.

Salliman said the program can ease the burden on local residents wishing to apply for passports, processed before only at DFA’s office in Zamboanga City, an hour away from Basilan via oversea travel.

He said their having been allowed by DFA to help in its passport services in the province was a “vote of confidence” for his administration.

Basilan is inside the core territory of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao that also covers the scattered provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, both in mainland Mindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

Functions and powers of the DFA are not devolved to the BARMM government.

The DFA has also enlisted lately, on a similar arrangement, the support of Lamitan City’s local government in processing passport applications by prospective applicants from its more than 40 constituent-barangays.

The now third-termer Lamitan City Mayor Rose Furigay said Saturday personnel of DFA’s office in Zamboanga City will accept passport applications channeled through their local government unit.

"I am thankful to the DFA for this. This is a big help for our people," She said.

Personnel of DFA’s office in Zamboanga City shall visit Lamitan City on periodic basis to collect applications and meet with applicants before releasing their passports.



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