The Philippine government is testing new technology that will enable Filipinos to renew their passports online, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Tuesday.
The new system allows renewal applications to be done at home or in the office to reduce appointments and lines in consular offices, Cayetano said.
"One of these technologies shown to me, 'yung cellphone kukuhanan lang ng picture 'yung passport, and then magse-selfie ka. 'Yung face mo ico-compare sa passport. Then we can mail you the (renewed) passport already," he said during a congressional probe on the delay in passport processing.
The Department of Foreign Affairs is still ironing out details of the new scheme, but is seeking to launch the online renewal system by 2019.
However, it will only be available for passports issued from August 2016 onwards.
"'Nung tinurn over sa amin 'yung data noong 2014, aside from obsolete, corrupted na yung ibang data. (But) Once we have the biometrics, puwede nang hindi na magpakita sa offices and we can do the renewals online," Cayetano said.
The DFA began rolling out different passport application programs after Filipinos decried that online application appointments are usually full due to the limited number of slots available per day.
In January, the DFA launched a mobile passport processing center called "Passport on Wheels" and an online portal for passport concerns of new overseas Filipino workers.
Cayetano said the DFA seeks to add 17,000 daily passport appointment slots within the year by opening 8 new consular offices nationwide.