PH post adds more dates for mobile consular service in Al Khobar

By Florante Catanus, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau

Posted at Jan 29 2013 10:06 AM | Updated as of Jan 29 2013 06:06 PM

DAMMAM, Saudi Arabia - In order to meet the high demand for passport renewals in the Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia, the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh will add four schedules on its Mobile Consular Service or popularly known as Embassy on Wheels (EOWs) in Dammam.

The website of the embassy showed that online appointment schedules from February to July 2013 are already fully booked. 

This cause problems to many overseas Filipino workers like Marlyn de Guzman of AlKhobar whose husband’s passport is expiring soon but can’t get an online appointment.

She said her husband is obligated to travel to and from Riyadh for nine hours just to renew his passport in order to renew his Iqama (Residence Certificate).

“Mag-i-expire na yung passport ng asawa ko pero wala na kaming nakuhang schedule dito sa Eastern Region. Ang ginawa namin nag-set kami ng appointment sa embassy sa Riyadh. So ibig sabihin, pupunta pa kami ng Riyadh, magta-travel for nine hours para lang doon sa pagpapa-renew ng passport niya,” de Guzman said.

To solve problems like that of de Guzman’s, the embassy issued a press release recently announcing its revised schedule of Embassy on Wheels by adding one schedule in February, two in March and one in April 2013.

The revised schedules which will be conducted at the Al-Jazeera International School Dammam are February 14-15; Feb. 21-22; March 7-8; March 21-22; March 28-29; April 18-19; and April 25-26.

With this development, Reggie Montana, Embassy on Wheels Volunteer and Filipino community leader, is happy because many OFWs will be served with the additional schedules.

“Ako ay natutuwa na nagdagdag ng schedule ang Philippine embassy sa kanilang Embassy on Wheels dito sa Dammam. Ang apat na schedules na dinagdag nila mula sa buwan ng Pebrero hanggang sa Abril ay napakalaking bagay para sa mga OFW dito,” said Reggie Montana, a community leader and one of the volunteers of the Embassy on Wheels.

With the new schedules, applicants with online appointments in February until July 2013 will be re-scheduled to an early slots and they will be informed through their email addresses and cellphone contact details.

Moreover, the appointment slots for the consular outreach on April 25-26, May 23-24, June 27-28 and July 11-12 will be considered open. The online appointment system will be soon amended to allow for online appointments on these dates at the Embassy website,