Duterte signs law extending passport validity to 10 years

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 2) — Philippine passports will now be valid for 10 years from the previous five years.

This after President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act (RA) No.10928 Wednesday, amending Section 10 of RA 8239 or the Philippine Passport Act of 1996.

RA 10928 states regular passports "issued under this Act shall be valid for a period of 10 years" from the current five years under RA 8239 provides, "Regular passports issued under this Act shall be valid for a period of five (5) years."

It clarifies however, that individuals under 18 years old shall be issued passports valid for only five years.

RA 10928 also states passport validity of less than 10 years may be issued "whenever in the national economic interest or politicl stability of the country such restriction is necessary."

This law shall take into effect "15 days after publication in the Official Gazette or in a national; newspapaer of general circulation."

Senate approved Senate Bill 1365, or the Philippine passport Act, on third and final reading on May 15, 2017.

READ: Senate approves 10-year passport validity bill

Proponents said overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are one of the main beneficiaries of the proposed amendment.

"This measure will certainly give comfort to our OFWs. Often, they have to file a leave from work for them to be able to travel back and forth to the nearest Philippine embassy or consular office to get their passports renewed," Senator Sonny Angara, one of the bill's authors, said.

A counterpart bill, House Bill 4767, was passed on third and final reading in the House of Representatives last February 13.