Proposed new passport law approved on 2nd reading

Published December 8, 2022, 5:17 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

A measure that mandates the issuance of passports using the latest tamper-proof and data management technologies has been approved on second reading in the House of Representatives.

(Ellson Quismorio/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Through a simple voice vote (ayes vs. nayes) during plenary session Wednesday night, Dec. 8, House Bill (HB) No.6510 was granted penultimate approval by the lower chamber.

The full title of HB No.6510 reads, “An Act providing for new passport law, repealing for the purpose Republic Act (RA) No.8239, otherwise known as the ‘Philippine Passport Act of 1996”.

The measure is part of the priority legislative agenda of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).

Under HB No.6510, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is tasked to implement a system wherein senior citizens may renew their passports through the use of available technology without the need for personal appearance.

The bill also provides senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) with a 50 percent discount on the fees for the processing, issuance, or replacement of a passport.

It removes the earlier authorization of travel or recruitment agencies to apply for passports on behalf of the applicants.

It also provides for the issuance of emergency passports to Filipino citizens who have previously been issued regular passports but for certain reasons cannot apply for or be issued regular passports.

Moreover, the bill also requires the creation of three different databases containing current and previous passport and travel document records of Filipinos and recognized alien residents, a watchlist database containing names of persons whose passport applications have been denied or revoked, and a database containing the names and information of persons who committed passport related offenses.

The DFA will be allowed to utilize 50 percent of its collection from passport services fees for the improvement of DFA passporting and consular services.