MANILA - Passport applications may resume in areas where the enhanced community quarantine is lifted, but applicants will have to endure "longer" turnaround periods as consular offices enforce more stringent measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) official said Saturday.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay said the DFA has been accepting passport applications and renewal processing in some parts of the country despite the coronavirus crisis.
But even as other areas relax quarantine measures after April 30, the end of the Luzon-wide lockdown, Dulay said they will have to comply with health protocols which may delay the passport application process altogether.
"'Yon pong ilang consular offices namin nagsu-suspend kasi marami sa kanila nalagay sa enhanced community quarantine. 'Pag nag-luwag po ito at nagkaroon ng general community quarantine, magbabalik po ang operasyon sa normal," Dulay said in a "Laging Handa" press briefing.
(Our other consular offices have suspended operations because they areas they covered were placed under enhanced community quarantine. Should they relax lockdowns, operations can go back to normal.)
Government earlier announced that the enhanced community quarantine would be extended in Metro Manila and other areas with high COVID-19 incidence until May 15. The rest of the country will, meanwhile, be under a general community quarantine after the lapse of the Luzon-wide lockdown on April 30.
"Kaya lang po gusto kong paalalahanan, hindi po puwede 'yung dating proseso, mag-iiba po kami ng proseso para makasunod sa physical distancing at [maiwasan ang] congestion," he added.
(But I want to reiterate that there will be changes in the application process to ensure that physical distancing will be observed, and that we will try to avoid congestion.)
The DFA's consular offices usually get crowded with passport applicants and others seeking consular services.