Filipinos in Australia can now apply for renewal of their passports by post. The move came after a number of complaints from Filipinos outside the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) who were required to apply in person to renew their passports. The Embassy required personal appearance for every passport renewal applicant because of “the need to incorporate biometrics in the passport and due to the highly technical specifications” of the new machine readable Philippine passports. Filipinos who wanted to renew their passports spend between Aus$200 and Aus$1,200 to travel to Canberra because of this initial guideline from the Philippine Embassy in Canberra.
The Philippine Embassy in Canberra claimed in its website that “soon became obvious that the requirement for personal appearance when filing applications can be an expensive and time-consuming process for our kababayans.” It announced that it ‘sought’ the approval of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila to “allow for personal appearance at Philippine Honorary Consulates/Consulates General in state capitals.”
Filipinos meaning to renew their passports will now have to spend between Aus$95 and Aus$200.
Given these facts, one will wonder whatever happened to the need to incorporate biometrics in the passport and due to the highly technical specifications. If they can authorize the personal application at the state capital’s Philippine Honrary Consulates/Consulate Generals, why not authorize the whole process of applying for passport renewal in the Philippine Honorary Consulates/Consulates General?
I’m also wondering how the pricing of services differs from one Philippine Embassy to another. If you renew your passport in Thailand, you would have to pay between THB2,250 (PhP3,063.52) and THB2,700 (PhP3,676.10). Here in Australia you are poised to pay between Aus$65 (PhP2,065.76) and Aus$78 (PhP2,479.02). If you renew your passport in the Philippines, you will have to pay between PhP 500 and PhP 700. Mailing the application back to Manila is not that expensive but I guess with the quality of postal staff we have back home, paying extra is inevitable.
I remember vividly how my ‘political awakening’ came into being. Ninoy Aquino’s arrival was on national TV. I was Grade 3 then, and then the gun shots. I could not believe my eyes that it was really happening but I remember my Dad trembling in anger of what they’ve done and pointing to a certain general speaking on TV looking so tense and shaking while explaining to the press that the former senator was assassinated and showing them the gun that was used.
A report over the Inquirer.net caught my eye and I felt disgusted at how blatant some people in “forcing surrender to another party over a hovering threat to their money’s lifeline. ” The report quoted Makati Business Club Chairman Ramon Del Rosario, Jr. talking about a board member of the club who received a text message from a government official threatening to “set loose the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) on the MBC.” The threat is plain blackmail and the MBC shrugged it off welcoming any inquiry from the BIR. As expected there were denials from the government side and while throwing praises to the MBC as an advocate in tax collection, this showed that the BIR, or any other government office for this matter,could and will be used against any group or personality if they become a threat to the state (read: threat to their money’s lifeline).
The Metro Manila Film Fest was held last December. It is the time of the year when most of Metro Manila residents get saturated with Filipino films and time for most film producers to make “better than usual” films (well, film makers are expected to make quality films every time but the Manila Film Fest is quite different).