An overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW) group urged the Philippine government to review its contract with the printer of its passport booklets after a glitch in a computer program caused delays in the releasing of passports.
“The terms and conditions of the contract must be revisited as there maybe corresponding penalty imposed to the contractor in cases it hampered the production of passport booklets resulting to failure to deliver its commitment,” Migrante-Middle East said in a blog post.
Migrante-Middle East also urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to impose sanctions on Oberthur Technologies, the foreign equipment provider in the production of passport booklets, if needed.
The DFA said last week that an “unexpected malfunction” in a computer program had caused delays in the printing and releasing of passport booklets.
The delay affected those who applied in Manila starting May 6 and whose passports are due for release on June 10.
The DFA said Oberthur Technologies is now “working around the clock to fix the problem.” The remedial work will take “a few days,” and passports may be released starting June 14, it added.
Migrante-Middle East pointed out that passport services are not merely a business transaction between the DFA and its foreign contractor.
“It is [also] a delivery of public service to those who are longing to get a passport,” it said.
“With an increase of rates in getting passport as implemented by the DFA last year, the public is expecting better services such as fast and prompt application process and releases of passports,” the group said.
Migrante-Middle East expressed serious concern that the passport machine glitch will also affect the production of passport booklets for overseas Filipino workers who have applied in various Philippine posts abroad.
The group said passport applications from abroad will be sent to DFA consular office in Manila for production and printing. “But since there was a machine glitch… production will be delayed too,” it said. – JE/VVP, GMA News