Effective last April 2010, the Regional Consular Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs in General Santos City has been issuing electronic passports or e-Passports to its clients.

Wow!  Wasn’t it just last year in March 2009 when Bariles blogged about the same office issuing him a machine-readable passport  (Click here for that report.) in place of the old manually-scripted passport?  Now it seems that the MRP, altho accepted internationally looks passe with this latest launch of a cutting edge travel document.

A joint project of the DFA and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the e-passport makes the Philippines compliant with international standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), of which it is a member.  It is the world standard in travel documents.

[quote1] The e-passport which is expected to decrease incidents of passport fraud and tampering, will make it easier for Filipino travelers and migrant workers to move across borders due to its various security features, including a hidden encoded image; an ultra-thin, holographic laminate; and a tamper-proof electronic microchip.

Its Integrated Circuit (IC) chip stores the passport holder’s biometrics, that is, his photograph, fingerprint and other personal data for easy verification of identity and is fully inter-operable which means that the chip can be read by border control officials in other countries using a passport chip reader.

Hitech, don’t you think?

Anyway, the lovely Ms. Helen Acharon, a staff of the DFA Consular Office, from whom we got this piece of great news wants to inform all their would-be clients that their office is currently accepting and processing 70 passport applications only every day or 350 applicants per week.  This will go on while they are still putting up their online program.

Priority numbers for the whole week are given out starting at Monday morning until after the allocated 350 numbers have all been given away on that day.

The new e-passport will cost applicants P950 (processing of 30 days) and P1200 (processing of 2 weeks).

For help on how to apply for passports, JUST SIMPLY CLICK HERE.

For more info, call the Department of Foreign Affairs Regional Consular Office GenSan at  (083) 553-8380.