The Philippine Government says “it is time to say goodbye to the green Philippine passport”, ABS CBN reports this week.
The international Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has set March 31, 2010 as the last day allowed for ICAO member countries to issue non-Machine Readable Passports.
Starting April 1, 2010, the Department of Foreign Affairs, all Philippine Embassies and Consulates General, and DFA Regional Consular Offices in the Philippines will only issue machine readable passports.
Consul General Ma. Theresa Dizon-De Vega encouraged Filipinos in the UK to shift to machine-readable passports even though the green, handwritten, non-machine readable Philippine passport is still valid until the expiration date.
De Vega said the machine readable passport has enhanced safety features to include the use of a special features embedded in the passport cover, barcode and holographic laminate to prevent tampering. The passport is often targeted by counterfeiters but the maroon, machine-readable Philippine passport is designed with more security against fraud.
“Dahil po sumusunod ito sa alituntunin ng ICAO at mas madali ang pag proseso sa immigration. Halimbawa, pupunta ka ng ibang bansa, papasok ka ng ibang bansa mas madali ang pag proseso sa immigration,” said De Vega.
She also said that some countries in Europe may not issue visa to those who do not hold machine-readable passport.
“Doon po sa mahilig bumiyahe, alamin muna nila doon sa embahada (ng bansang pupunatahan) kung tumatanggap pa sila ng non-machine readable,” De Vega added.
The Philippine Embassy in the UK also announced that those with lost or expired passports who need to travel urgently to the Philippines can still travel back home by using a one-way travel document and the applicant can apply for a machine readable passport or an e-passport in the DFA office in Manila or any of the DFA Regional Consular Offices. Source: ABS CBN News, Manila.