MANILA (UPDATED) – Around 10,000 e-passports issued in 2010 were found to be defective, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Tuesday.
DFA spokesperson and assistant secretary Charles Jose told radio DZMM that the serial numbers of the defective passports are from EB 000-0001 to EB 126-7350.
The said e-passports have a defective cover, which easily comes off from the main body, Jose said.
Jose is urging holders of defective e-passports to have them replaced at the DFA's Office of Consular Affairs at Asiana Building along Macapagal Avenue in Pasay City or in regional consular offices located in malls.
Jose said the defective e-passports are only 1 percent of the total 10 million issued by the DFA from 2009 until March this year.
"Out of 10 million issued e-passports mula noong 2009 hanggang March this year, may 10,000 lang po na napasama sa batch na ito na may konting defect. Less than 1 percent po iyan sa total na 10 million na na-issue natin," Jose said.
The DFA, in an advisory, said e-passport replacement is free-of-charge in the following specific cases:
- If the applicant fills up the required replacement forms;
- If upon investigation and examination the e-passport is deemed substandard; and
- If the holder surrenders the detached e-passport to the department.
One has to pay for a replacement e-passport in the following cases:
- If the majority of the pages have been used and the e-passport’s condition is the result of wear and tear; and
- If the holder of the detached e-passport refuses to surrender said passport to the department
Replacement of the e-passport costs P950.
"Automatic po na ilalagay sa express processing, 7 days. Kung matagal na po gamit ang passport at ubos na ang pahina at nakita naman namin na yung cause [ng defect] ay dahil sa wear and tear, at may kasama na visa na valid pa at ayaw i-surrender sa amin yung passport na luma, ay papalitan po namin pero may bayad," he said.
He said that a person's old e-passport with a valid visa will be stapled to the new one.
He also said the DFA is looking for a new supplier for e-passports.
"We’re coming up with a new system… hahanap po tayo ng bagong supplier ng passport," he said. "Ang [old] supplier, naaayon ang napo-produce nila ng passports using stringent measures… pero may nangyayaring ganyang mga bagay."
What is important, according to Jose, is that they immediately recognized the problem.
"Proactive kami ngayon na kami na po ang nagsasabi na kung kabilang kayo sa mga nabanggit na serial number, lumapit na po kayo sa amin," he said.