Monday, August 17, 2015

DFA: Technical issues, not Bangko Sentral, cause of passport delays

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said on Friday that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is not responsible for recent delays in passport processing, citing technical difficulties as the real culprit behind the backlog.
"The recent statement issued to the media which may have been interpreted to have attributed the delays to the BSP was inaccurate. The BSP has been a valued partner of the DFA and its delivery of service has been more than acceptable and in accordance with expectations," del Rosario said.
DFA Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Frank Cimafranca said in a press briefing on Thursday that the BSP was responsible for printing the passports.
He explained that the printing machines used by the bank had not been upgraded since 2009 and has since suffered from numerous breakdowns, compromising its safety and resulting in production delays.
But del Rosario said these delays "should be corrected within one month" after the BSP transfers its printing facilities to the 485-hectare Lima Technology Center in Lipa City, Batangas.
"There have been unexpected delays and these are attributed to technical difficulties in view of the preparations for the transfer of the facilities," he said.
Spokesperson Charles Jose explained last March that they cannot avoid the delays in their transition to an up-to-date passport system but can only try to minimize the problems until the completion of the changeover.
The DFA began updating its current passport system last February 23. It has since vowed to process its backlog of 42,230 passports in 15 to 20 days. Rie Takumi/JST, GMA News

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