Shorter lines and less time spent at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and branches of the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
This would be the immediate benefit of new laws signed by President Rodrigo Duterte extending the validity of passports and drivers’ licenses, according to Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who on Thursday said that the Senate and the House of Representatives were committed to “act quickly and decisively” on the legislative priorities of the President.
“These two laws show that the President is really committed to making life easier for our countrymen, and as long as we in the Legislature work with him and do our part to craft and pass the laws needed to improve our people’s lives, then everybody benefits,” said Pimentel.
“In this case, Filipino citizens, the DFA, and the LTO, they all benefit from these new laws.”
In his first State of the Nation Address last year, the President announced that extending the validity of passports and drivers’ licenses would be among his Administration’s priority bills. The President signed both laws on August 2.
The Senate chief stressed that every Filipino adult would “benefit immensely” from the new laws as they now would have to spend less time lining up at government offices to secure their passports and drivers’ licenses.
Republic Act 10928 extends the validity of passports issued to Filipino citizens aged 18 or older from five years to ten years, while Republic Act 10930 extends the validity of drivers’ licenses from the current three years to five years.
“Nothing is valuable as our time, and when a citizen has to spend half of his or her day at the DFA or at the LTO just to renew a passport or license, that is half a day away from school or work,” explained Pimentel.
“These new laws will mean less trips to these government offices, and also a more manageable work load for the agencies involved, the DFA and the LTO,” added the senator from Mindanao.
Pimentel was optimistic that the lighter work load of the DFA would allow it to improve the processing times of passports.
According to the DFA website, the regular processing time of new passport applications and renewals is 10-15 working days in Metro Manila, and 30 working days in its regional consular offices.
Expedited processing times, on the other hand, are five to seven working days for applications in Metro Manila, and 20 working days in DFA’s regional consular offices.