(MENAFN- The Peninsula)
Ambassador of the Philippines to Qatar, H E Alan L Timbayan, yesterday inaugurated the new Philippine e-Passport Renewal Center (PaRC) in Doha.
The PaRC is located at Al Shoumoukh Towers and is operated by BLS International. It would cater to applications from Filipinos with regular passports, which do not entail a change in the holder's passport record. The Philippines Embassy monitors the applications at PaRC. The Embassy is still responsible for producing the passports, which would take four to six weeks of processing time. All passports renewed at PaRC should be collected from the Center.
“Despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) remains proactive in finding solutions that would continue to improve its services, whatever the challenges may be,” Ambassador Timbayan said during the opening.
With over 250,000 estimated Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) employed in various sectors in Qatar, the Ambassador stated that the volume of application necessitated the opening of the PaRC and the government's commitment to easing access to services for Filipinos worldwide.“The Philippine Embassy in Doha has implemented an online appointment system for passport renewal applications to ensure that health protocols will be strictly observed at its premises.
Although the Embassy accepts and processes an average of more than 200 passport renewal applications per day, the need for passport services remains significantly high.“It is with great pleasure to welcome every one of you to the BLS-International Philippine Passport Renewal Center (PaRC). The realization of this Center is through the unwavering efforts of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs in providing more accessible and convenient passport services to the Filipino community in the State of Qatar,” he added. Qatar is the third country in the Gulf region after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that the Philippine government has opened a PaRC.
The services will run every day from Sundays to Saturdays from 8 am to 8 pm on an appointment basis. The passport fee of QR240 will be charged for the application process, while BLS would collect an additional QR91 as a convenience fee. This would be a small price to pay for many Filipinos, who have had to wait longer to get an appointment at the Embassy.
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