Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has threatened to terminate the contract of QRS, the service provider handling the passport delivery, following mounting public complaints against delay in the delivery of passport to hundreds of applicants.
“@DFAPHL Terminate the service provider. DFA will not be answering for their incompetence,” Locsin said in a tweet on Wednesday, August 4, 2021, in response to a female netizen who posted on Twitter her ordeal in tracking the release of her passport.
Locsin also directed the DFA to “send out an alert” to use LBC or some other courier that is alive and functioning amid the delays and confusion caused by QRT.
DFA sources said QRS is a company reportedly being run by APO Printing, the same entity that manufactures the Philippine passports.
In a series of tweets following numerous complaints posted on social media, Locsin said he “don’t give a f***k who their alleged protector is. @DFAPHL step on them.”
“@DFAPHL this is ridiculous especially at this time. Tell QRS they will quickly and reliably be booted out if they don’t get their act together,” the foreign secretary said in a separate tweet.
Sources said the trouble with passport delivery reportedly began when the DFA, at the height of the pandemic, surprisingly eased out the previous courier LBC in favor of QRS.
Prior to the entry of QRS, the Department of Foreign Affairs Multi-Purpose Cooperative (DFAMPC) entered into a memorandum of agreement with LBC, to handle the passport delivery.
“We never had a problem when the courier service was handled by LBC/DFAMPC until suddenly this job was handed to APO against the objection of career officers who are members of DFAMPC,” the source said in a message sent to the Manila Bulletin.
Aside from the delays in passport delivery, the DFA is also facing problems in providing ample online schedule slots for hundreds of passport applicants, further exacerbated when the COVID-19 outbreak started in February last year.
Netizens are likewise complaining against the proliferation of social media sites reportedly selling passport application schedules online to as much as P3,800 per slot.