House panel OKs 10-year passports

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 18 2016 11:59 PM

MANILA - The House Committee on Foreign Affairs has approved the adoption of 22 bills extending the validity of Philippine passports to 10 years from the current 5 years.

House committee chairperson Rep. Linabell Ruth Villarica made the announcement after a motion to approve was made by one of the authors, House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

House Bills 487, 1894, 1922, 1953, 1967, 1995, 2063, 2153, 2191, 2296, 2330, 2340, 2432, 2499, 2682, 2791, 2827, 2970, 3262, 3506 & 3669 – Extending the validity period of the Philippine passport to 10 years, amending Section 10 of RA 8239, otherwise known as the Philippine Passport Act of 1996 were authored by Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Representatives Teodoro Montoro, Benhur Salimbangon, Vilma Santos-Recto, Estrellita Suansing, Angelina “Helen” Tan M.D., Mark Villar, Enrico Pineda, Sol Aragones, Romeo Acop, Aniceto “John” Bertiz III, Joey Sarte Salceda, Henry Oaminal, Manuel Jose “Mannix” Dalipe, Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu, Rep. Abigail Faye Ferriol-Pascual, Deputy Speaker Rolando Andaya Jr., Reps. Elenita Milagros “Eileen” Ermita-Buhain, Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, and Gus Tambunting.

The approval paves the way for a technical working group that will consolidate the bills subject to style for final approval by the committee.

Arroyo said, "the bill that this representation filed was in response to the Duterte administration's request for cutting down on red tape."

Arroyo also explained why she prefers that it be a stand-alone amendment instead of making it part of a consolidated package of amendments. 

"All it takes is one controversial provision and the whole measure will be delayed," she said. "We would not want the one important measure for the administration extending validity of the passport to be delayed."

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it generally supports the proposal, citing the clamor of overseas Filipino workers.