THE head of a non-governmental organization on Monday warned that serious flaws in future batches of Philippine e-passports will cause overseas workers and other Filipino travelers to be barred from entering their countries of destination.
“Thousands of migrant Filipino workers and other travelers are unwittingly headed to purgatory on Earth. They may be barred from entering countries of destination and held indefinitely or deported immediately due to serious flaws in the passports produced for the Department of Foreign Affairs [DFA] by APO [Asian Productivity Organization]-UGEC,” anti-corruption advocate Argee Guevarra said at a regular media forum in a hotel in Manila.
APO Production Unit Inc. is a government-owned and -controlled corporation under the then-Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), headed by Secretary Herminio Coloma during President Benigno S. Aquino’s watch.
Guevarra, a lawyer, claimed that his informants have given him proof that important security features of future batches of Philippine e-passports produced will not stand up to scrutiny and may cause them to be flagged as “fake”.
“Our e-passports are official documents with security features much like our currency and tax stamps. Any alteration in the design and materials that makes the new batch of Philippine e-passports different from previous batches may lead to the former being mistaken as fake.” Guevarra said.
He revealed his informants showed that UGEC, the private corporation used by the APO, acted on its own and begun switching suppliers for a number of materials used in passport production.
The unique formulation and design of these materials are security features in themselves, much like the paper and ink used for Philippine currency. Any decision or move to change these materials or their suppliers must be approved by the DFA and the APO Production Unit, he said.
Source: Business Mirror