Dubai: Filipinos in the UAE on Wednesday welcomed their government’s move to make their passport validity 10 years from the current five years.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday signed in to law the Republic Act 10928 that will give new Philippine passports a 10-year validity for citizens over 18 years of age. Those under 18 will be issued passports with five-year validity.
According to the new law, the Department of Foreign Affairs will issue the implementing rules and regulations to ensure that the law will be implemented in a “seamless, convenient and pro-people” manner.
The new validity was proposed by Duterte in his first State of the Nation Address in 2016, where he urged Congress to amend the Philippine Passport Act of 1996 to ease the passport renewal woes endured by millions of overseas Filipinos.
“The administration has always had the convenience of Filipinos back home and the overseas Filipinos in mind and clearly the tenure validity would allow people to hold onto their identification documents for a longer period before applying for a new one,” Philippine Consul-General in Dubai Paul Raymund Cortes told Gulf News.
“This is always a welcome development and we await guidelines and instructions on the implementing rules and regulations for the 10-year validity passports.”
Jessie Medina, a pastor who frequently travels back home, said the move is an excellent one.
“This will definitely benefit all of us. It is sometimes a hassle to have to go to the consulate to renew every five years when there’s an option to make it 10 years anyway as in other countries. Sometimes we even have to spend an entire day at the consulate to get it,” Medina told Gulf News.
The new law will take effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette in the Philippines or in a national newspaper with general circulation.
Bert Maquiling, an engineer who is applying for passport renewal on August 10, said he hopes to get the new passport though he is renewing before the law takes effect.
For Danny Bunag, an IT professional who frequently travels, the 10-year validity is good news but he hopes the new one will have more pages. The current one has 44 pages.
“In general, this move is good since it will be more convenient for the people. But since I’m a frequent traveller, it will only be beneficial for people like us if the new passport will have more pages,” Bunag said.
Countries like India and Pakistan, for example, have 10-year validity passports with a minimum of 36 pages. Options are available for those who want to have a 100-page passport for Pakistanis, and a 60-page passport for Indians.
It is not known if the passport fee will be changed from the current Dh240.