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PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 24 (PNA) -- The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will proceed with the implementation of the P1.4 billion electronic passports before end of this year, DFA official said Wednesday.

In a press conference held at the Bulwagang Princesa, barangay Sta. Monica this city, Ma. Corazon Yap-Bahjin said the implementation of e-passports will be pushed through as Domingo Lucenario, DFA’s assistant secretary for consular affairs and officials of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) met Wednesday in connection of the said project.

Bahjin, together with some DFA officials, are here to scout for possible site of the department\'s regional office here.

The department’s plan to start producing e-passports has been stymied by a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by a Pasig trial court. The DFA and BSP have petitioned the Supreme Court to lift the TRO.

The BSP is the DFA’s partner in the e-Passport project and will print some four million of the new passport booklets.

BCA, a Philippine-Thai private company, won the public bidding in 2000 for the DFA’s P2-billion MRPV (Machine-Readable Passport and Visa) project, but the DFA terminated the contract in December 2005 saying the company is financially incapable of implementing the project.

Bahjin said MRPV is only good until 2013, while the e-passports are for 2009 and onwards.

The implementation e-passport is crucial in view of the regulation by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for all countries to have the machine-readable passports by April 1, 2010.

Meanwhile, DFA Director Roger Gonzales said the validity, security and integrity of the machine readable passports are currently being issued to our countrymen here and abroad.

Gonzales said the passports have significant enhancement of security features, which are impossible to forge.

By: Philippine News Agency


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