House passes bill lengthening Philippine passport validity from 5 to 10 years
The House of Representatives approved on Feb. 13 a bill that aims to extend the validity of the Philippine passport from five years to 10 years.
The Bill No. 4767 was passed on third and final reading, with 216 votes on the affirmative, zero negative votes, and zero abstention, according to the Philippine News Agency.
This bill introduces a revision to the Republic Act 8239, otherwise known as the Philippine Passport Law. The said law originally states under Section 10 that the passport is valid for a period of five years. This is regardless of the applicant’s age.
It can be remembered that President Rodrigo Duterte on July 25, 2016, during his first State of the Nation Address, urged Congress to make an amendment to the said law in a bid to lengthen the validity of Philippine passports to 10 years.
In his speech, he told lawmakers that since they are the ones who craft the law and they are the ones who pass it, it will definitely be fine with him to stretch the validity of passports “a little bit.”
A report from Rappler cites Duterte recounting seeing the applicants outside a mall in Davao City, where the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) accepts passport application in a satellite office.
“I’m really hurt,” said Duterte. “This is really painful.”
He then told his Cabinet members to use the computer as he does not want “to see people lining up under the heat of the sun… [and] under the rain.”
Moreover, Duterte also directed his Cabinet members and heads of agencies during his inaugural speech on June 30 to lessen requirements as well as the processing time of all applications. That’s from the submission through the release.
The law defines Philippine passport as “a document issued by the Philippine government to its citizens and requesting other governments to allow its citizens to pass safely and freely, and in case of need to give him/her all lawful aid and protection.”