Philippines – Congressional Inquiry Urged Over ‘Overpriced’ e-Passports

By | March 27, 2017

An umbrella organization of labor unions is urging Congress to look into the government’s alleged overpriced new digital passport or e-passport.

In a statement, Philippine Association of Free Labor Unions president Terry Tuazon said the government should lower the cost of the e-passport and make it more affordable, particularly for overseas Filipino workers.

Tuazon said the e-passports being issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs cost P950 plus P250 for “overtime charges” if the applicant wanted to use the express lane service.

He said the old maroon-colored machine-readable passports (MRP) cost only P550 or P700 “if you want it faster.”

“Except for the electronic chip that is embedded in the e-passport that captures data and security features, there are no other enhancements to justify the high cost. Digital products are getting cheaper, not going expensive,“ Tuazon said.

“With 17,000 new applicants [daily] who troop to the various consular offices all over the country, that’s a lot of money for the government,” he said.