Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Faster passport issuance seen with new Batangas printing plant
MALVAR, Batangas -- President Benigno Aquino III on Monday inaugurated here a high-security printing plant that is expected to cut the regular waiting period for passport issuances from 15 to 10 days.
Aquino himself got the first electronic passport to be printed at the Batangas plant, operated by the government-owned APO Production Unit.
With the opening of the new Batangas plant, the application process is also expected to be shortened.
The new e-passport has a more durable booklet made from higher quality materials. It also has added security features, such as a tamper-proof electronic microchip and a hidden encoded image.
The new plant will also address the need for increased passport production capacity over the next 10 years.
Aside from e-passports, the Batangas plant also prints tax stamps for the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
Akbayan Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez earlier filed a resolution at the House of Representatives seeking to probe why government had to transfer e-passport printing from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to the APO Production Unit under a 10-year contract worth P8 billion.
Gutierrez particularly questioned why APO Production Unit was tapped to print the e-passport when it did not have the capability to print documents with security features. It had to engage a subcontractor, United Graphic Expression Corp., for this purpose. —KBK, GMA News