Roque: DFA improving passport application system

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Some of the passport system programs to be rolled out include improving the online appointment system, and opening more consular offices in Metro Manila.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 13) — All efforts are being exerted by the government to address concerns about passport applications, according to Malacañang.

"We understand the frustration of our kababayans [countrymen], and the government. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is exerting efforts to improve passport applications," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said during a media briefing in Cebu Saturday.

Roque said the DFA is rolling out several programs to fix the passport system.

Among which are improving the online appointment system, opening more consular offices in Metro Manila, implementing an e-payment system, and launching the "passport on wheels" service starting January 28.

He also said from August to December 2017, the DFA has opened 230,000 additional slots to accommodate passport applicants.

The DFA said it faces challenges in the passport application and renewal process, specifically with the online appointment system, amid the uproar over a fully booked schedule till March.

"We only open three months at a time kasi iniisa-isa namin kung tunay 'yung pangalan. Only 70 percent na naglalagay ng pangalan ang dumadating. 'Yung 30 percent for one reason or the other — or whether naglagay tapos binebenta ang slot, hindi dumadating," he said Friday.

[Translation: We only open three months at a time because we look at each name individually. Only 70 percent of those names make an appearance. The 30 percent for one reason to the other - or whether they paid a fee and then sell the slot, don't appear.]

READ: DFA denies syndicate, opens more passport appointment slots

Cayetano also said they are opening nine new consular officers this year, mostly in the regions, to address the increased demand. They are also looking to build up their Aseana branch in Pasay City to increase its capacity from 1,900 to 3,300 passport appointments daily.

CNN Philippines digital producer Pia Garcia contributed to this report.