Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has confirmed the termination of QRS (Quick Reliable Service) as the official service provider of passport delivery of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
“QRS is terminated. Phase out should be in progress,” Locsin wrote in his Twitter account Thursday night.
Locsin’s decision to ease out QRS came as a result of widespread complaints against delays and confusions in the delivery of passports to applicants who paid an extra amount to avail of the services at the comfort of their homes.
According to DFA Assistant Secretary for Strategic Communications Eduardo Meñez, the department is now addressing the issue and will soon announce the replacement of QRS.
“(The) Office of Consular Affairs is trying to arrange a new courier service, and address the issue of passports already in the pipeline. There should be an announcement on this soon,” Meñez told the Manila Bulletin.
QRS is allied with APO Printing, the same entity involved in the production and personalization of Philippine passports.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, QRS surprisingly came into the picture and replaced the partnership of LBC-DFA Multi-Purpose Cooperative (DFAMPC) as the official courier of passports.
This move has reportedly raised some eyebrows among the rank and file in the department considering the proven track record of LBC in the courier service sector.
“We never had that problem when the courier service was handled by DFAMPC. Until suddenly this job was handed to APO against the objection of career officers who are members of DFAMPC,” said a veteran diplomat who was privy to the conceptualization of the passport delivery system.
Aside from the delivery mess, the DFA is also facing mounting criticisms over the online scheduling system of passport applicants despite its recent effort to add additional slots to accommodate hundreds of applicants across the country.
Locsin earlier directed the Office of Consular Affairs, a division under the jurisdiction of DFA Undersecretary Brigido Dulay, to investigate the proliferation of social media sites, especially on Facebook, that are openly selling online schedules to as much as P3,800 per slot.