Philippine passport's validity extended to 10 years

On August 2, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the law extending the validity of Philippine Passport from 5 to 10 years for adult passport holders while retaining the 5-year validity for minors.

Amendment of RA 8239

Known as Republic Act 10982 which amended the RA 8239 or the Philippine Passport Act of 1996, this new promulgation tasks the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to design the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) in order to execute the new passport validity. This law could also work to the advantage of DFA as this would ease up their workload since it would mean the lowering of the regularity of passport renewal of Filipino passport holders. In addition to that, this would reduce the backlogs brought about by thousands of applications and releases of passports every day.

Former president and Pampanga Representative, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo believes that the Filipinos deserve to be provided with the right to travel abroad with less inconvenience especially in the renewal of passports.

With increasing affordability of international travels provided by airlines and travel agencies nowadays, the 10-year validity of the Philippine passport would afford the Filipino traveler more travel experiences anytime regardless of his socio-economic background.

OFW lauded the Act

But if there’s one group that should be delighted by this news, it would be the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). The move to lengthen the validity of the Philippine passport could benefit millions of OFWs who travel abroad to seek greener pastures. It could lessen the burden of renewing their passports every 5 years. Many OFWs spend time to travel to Philippine consulates or embassy just to renew their passports which is a time-consuming transaction. OFWs around the world have different reactions regarding this matter.

For Irish Marie Sagmon, an English professor at a university in Gyeongsan, South Korea says, “As an OFW, the measure to extend the new Philippine passport to a 10-year validity, is beneficial. It does not only cut the hassle of undergoing the tedious passport renewal procedures, but it also helps OFWs and the traveling public in general save money. This move is likely to lessen the red tape in government offices that provide the issuance of travel documents and other related services.”

Sandie Veloso, an IT specialist and software designer, shares the same sentiment. He has been working as a UX Manager in Melbourne, Australia, for three years and he sees this extension of the validity of the passport to be “highly convenient to all OFWs.” Although he has not availed of this new feature of the Philippine passport, he sees it to be a source of relief from the cumbersome processing of renewal of passport every 5 years.

“However, the downside of this benefit is that it might encourage Filipinos to stay longer in foreign countries as TNTs (Tago ng Tago) which means Filipinos who are illegal aliens in hiding,” Veloso quips.

Rose Ibona, an English teacher in China for the past 3 years expresses her gratitude to the passing of the law since it would minimize the hassle of renewing passport. Philippine Embassy in China is in Beijing while the Consulate is in Shanghai. Ibona needs to travel for a day to reach Beijing.

Ibona comments, “In my case, when I renewed my passport in China, I had to go to a Foreign Experts Office to change some information since my passport number changed. It’s a burden to my work and it’s also costly.”