Buhay OFW

10-year passport validity gets a nod at the Senate

Senate Bill 1365 or the Philippine Passport Act seeks to amend the Philippine Passport Act of 1996. This was approved on its third and final reading and its approval boasts of extending the current passport validity of 5 years to 10.

Senator Sonny Angara, one of the bill’s authors, said that this new law is to give comfort to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). He continues to explain that OFWs often file a leave from their work just to get their passports renewed.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, there are 27 offices nationwide where one can apply for their passports. However, other passports may still be given less than 10 years validity if the “national economic interest or political stability of the country” is at risk.

Senator Cynthia Villar, vice chair of the Committee on Foreign Relations and one of the bill’s sponsors said that Filipinos have the freedom to travel in and outside the country for whatever “valid purpose”. She continues that the government could only present one citizen from leaving if “there is a statutory basis for it”.

House Bill 4767, a counterpart bill, was passed on its third and final reading on February 13 by the House of Representatives. Once a bill is approved by the lower house (House of Representatives) and the upper house (The Senate), both houses will have to finalize the bill and make necessary provisions before endorsing it to the president. The president will then have the final verdict where it be passed into law or vetoed.

Source: CNN Philippines