NEW YORK – Philippine officials said the new enhanced Philippine E-passport is a true machine-readable passport that’s scheduled to roll out beginning April.
Senior Foreign Affairs advisor Ambassador Libran Cabactulan said a new, overhauled Philippine travel document not only has a new look but this P10 billion upgrade is more secured and fraud-proof.
“A world class passport that would deserve the respect and recognition, of course, by all other governments,” said Cabactulan. “It will really enhance the image of the Filipino because they will now be carrying passports that I would say nearly impossible to fake, to be compromised.”
Enhanced security features include an embedded chip containing biometric information used to authenticate the identity of the traveler, including a photo, fingerprints, and signature.
“It will establish a one-to-one correspondence between the document and yourself,” he said. “In other words, it will establish beyond doubt that you are the person alleged to be holding this passport.”
The chip has provisions to accept additional information that may be required in the future.
Cabactulan said while each page of the new passport tells a story about the Philippines, these designs are part of its new security measures as well.
“It will have some educational objective as well,” he said. “There will be lines and colors and combinations here that I cannot even tell you because that’s part of the security.”
While this upgrade will cost the Philippine government about P10 billion in 10 years or roughly $216 million, Cabactulan said the good news is, passport cost will remain the same at $60 processing fee and the six-week processing time will be reduced to four weeks at most.
“There is a new covert feature that we are incorporating into the passport,” said Jaime Aldaba Jr, EVP and general manager of APO. “It’s called intaglio printing – high-end form of printing that causes an embossed effect on the printed surface – the fine lines created by this embossing effect is very difficult to copy.”
Passports will be produced in APO’s world class security plant in Lima, Batangas.
A new machine called bookmaster, one that can process 500 passports per hour, will be used to replace the old system. Three of them will be operational by April.
Officials said traveling for Filipinos will soon be a breeze everywhere in the world with the roll out of the new enhanced machine readable e-passport.