DFA Opens State-of-the-Art Consular BuildingJan 12th, 2010 | By staff | Category: Consular Services
January 11, 2010 by DFA-PISU
Present during the opening were DFA Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) Chairperson Patricia A. Sto. Tomas, DBP President Reynaldo David, DFA Undersecretary for Administration Franklin M. Ebdalin, Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Renato A. Villapando and other officials and guests.
“We started making advancements in world-class, modern, innovative and internationally-compliant consular services through the launch of the ePassport. With the move of the DFA’s Office of Consular Affairs (DFA-OCA) to this new building, we are approaching the end of that roadmap,” Secretary Romulo said.
“In this intelligent building, instead of sweltering heat, our consular clients will be greeted with cool air at the moment they enter our doors. Instead of monobloc chairs, they will wait their turn sitting on ergonomically-designed stainless steel benches. Instead of long queues, they can shorten their wait by accessing our online appointment system. Instead of going from building to building, they only need to move from ground to second floor,” he added.
He said that DFA-OCA personnel will also enjoy the convenience of modern work stations, furniture and equipment.
The new facility is located at the corner of Bradco and Macapagal Avenues in Aseana Business Park, Paranaque City, a few minutes away from the Mall of Asia.
The acquisition of the PhP530-million, 7,000-square meter, four-storey building was realized with the assistance of the DBP.
For her part, DBP Chairperson Sto. Tomas offered the development bank’s continuing assistance in DFA’s future property acquisitions.
The facility will be opened to the public once it is formally inaugurated in the next few weeks.
The new facility will be the home of the ePassport, the electronic authentication system, the electronic visa system, and digitalized consular records system.
An intelligent building, the facility is equipped with fiber-optic lines, CCTV cameras and other high-tech information and communications infrastructure. Made of tempered glass and steel, the modern OCA office departs from the traditional concrete buildings.
Secretary Romulo initiated the relocation of OCA to the modern building to make the DFA’s services at par with those of advanced countries and to put the Philippines on high gear towards progress.
It is part of the ongoing modernization program undertaken by Secretary Romulo to further improve its frontline services which include harnessing new technologies in passport and visa issuances and streamlined procedures in the authentication of documents.
An earlier major accomplishment in the DFA’s modernization thrust was the launch of the Philippine ePassport on August 11, 2009, with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as guest of honor. With the issuance of the ePassport, the Philippines is now among the first countries in the world to implement the latest in passport technology.
To ensure quick, comfortable service, passport applicants are advised to check the passport requirements and secure an online appointment at www.dfa.gov.ph (consular tab), or to call the consular help-line number (02-556-0000) or DFA telephone number (02-834-4000). Applications may also be filed with the DFA’s 19 Regional Consular and satellite offices. END