Philippine passport

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Philippine passport
Regular Philippine Passport.svg
The front cover of a contemporary Philippine biometric passport using Trajan font. Hatching has also been added to the national coat-of-arms to indicate correct heraldic tinctures.
Philippine passport (2016 edition) data page.jpg
The data page of biometric passports issued after August 15, 2016. Note the signature field on page 3, in contrast to previous biometric passports.
Date first issued September 17, 2007
(Machine-readable passport)
August 11, 2009
(first edition biometric passport)
August 15, 2016
(new edition biometric passport)
Issued by  Philippines
Type of document Passport
Purpose Identification
Eligibility requirements Filipino citizenship
Expiration 5 years
Cost ₱950 (15 working days processing time) or ₱1200 (7 working days processing time)

A Philippine passport is both a travel document and a primary national identity document issued to citizens of the Philippines since there is no national identity card system in the Philippines. It is issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Philippine diplomatic missions abroad, with certain exceptions.

The Department of Foreign Affairs began issuing maroon machine-readable passports on September 17, 2007, and biometric passports on August 11, 2009. The green colored cover non-electronic passports are still valid until they expire. Philippine passports are printed at the APO Production Unit plant in Malvar, Batangas.[1]

History[edit]

The nature of passports in Pre-Hispanic and Spanish-Era Philippines is generally unknown, and the earliest forms have been issued since the Philippines gained independence from the United States in 1946. Passports were ordered to be printed in Filipino for the first time under Diosdado Macapagal, to be subsequently implemented under Ferdinand Marcos. Currently, it is printed in Filipino with English translations.

With the adoption of the 1987 constitution, the power of issuing passports was transferred from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the current Department of Foreign Affairs. The Philippine Passport Act of 1996 governs the issuance of Philippine passports and travel documents. Philippine passports are only issued to Filipino citizens, while travel documents (under Section 13) may be issued to citizens who have lost their passports overseas as well as permanent residents who cannot obtain passports or travel documents from other countries.[2]

On May 1, 1995, green covers were instituted on regular passports for the first time, and barcodes were inserted in passports in 2004. The new security-enhanced passport is a prerequisite to the issuance of new machine-readable passports which was issued on September 17, 2007.[3] The Philippines used to be one of the few countries in the world and formerly the only country in Southeast Asia that did not issue machine-readable regular passports,[4] although machine-readable official passports have been issued since June 18, 2007.[5]

Machine-readable passports[edit]

In 2006, the DFA in cooperation with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas started a five-year passport modernization project designed to issue new Philippine machine-readable passports (MRP). However, an injunction was issued against the project by a lower court, only to be overturned by the Supreme Court and ordering the DFA and the BSP to continue the project.[citation needed]

The machine-readable passport is designed to prevent tampering through the use of a special features embedded in the passport cover, similar to other machine-readable passports. It also has more pages than the previous passport (44 pages instead of the previous 32) and processing times were expected to be accelerated.[citation needed]

Personal appearance when applying for the new MRP passport is now required and cannot be bypassed. Also, fingerprints are registered into the passport and microprinting is found all over the data page of the passport.[citation needed]

Officials from the DFA have clarified that the older, green, non-MRP passports will expire as scheduled on their original expiration dates.[6] However, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) requires all member states to issue machine-readable passports by April 2010, hence some countries may deny entry to Filipinos still in possession of the green, hand-written passports.[7]

Biometric passport[edit]

In late July 2008, the DFA has announced plans and the possible implementation of a new Biometric Passport System for new passports. It is expected that the government will start issuing biometric passports by the end of 2009. On August 11, 2009, the first biometric passport was released for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The e-passport had various security features, including a hidden encoded image; an ultra-thin, holographic laminate; and a tamper-proof electronic microchip costing at around 950 pesos for the normal processing of 20 days or 1,200 pesos for the rush processing of 10 days.[8][not in citation given]

As of July 2015, the Philippine Passport is printed in Asian Productivity Organization or APO Productions under the Presidential Communications Group. On August 15, 2016, the new generation e-passport was released by the Department of Foreign Affairs with advanced security features such as the upgraded microchip to capture the personal data of the applicant, invisible ultraviolet (UV) fluorescent ink and thread, and elaborate design when subject to UV light.[9] Security inks were also used to print the passports to prevent forgery. These inks include intaglio, which are visible inks that have a distinct ridged feel and ultraviolet ink that appears when exposed to infrared lights. Other security features include watermarks, perforated passport numbering, embedded security fibers, among others.[10] Aside from making the new e-passport tamper-proof, each leaf of the 44-page document depicts Philippine artifacts, cultural icons, historic places, renowned tourist destinations, and even lyrics of the Philippine national anthem.[11]

Restrictions[edit]

With the declaration of martial law on September 23, 1972, travel restrictions were imposed on Philippine citizens. A letter of instruction restricted the issuance of passports to members of the Philippine diplomatic service, although this was relaxed in 1981 with the lifting of martial law.[citation needed]

In 1983, there were orders from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs not to issue any passports to the Aquino family. Despite the government ban, Ninoy Aquino was able to acquire one with the help of Rashid Lucman, a former congressman from Mindanao. The passport identified him as Marciál Bonifacio, an alias derived from "martial law" and Fort Bonifacio, where he was detained.[12]

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, passports were stamped with limitations prohibiting travel to South Africa (because of apartheid) and Lebanon (because of the civil war). Passports were previously stamped prohibiting travel to Iraq due to the ongoing violence and because of the Angelo de la Cruz kidnapping in 2004. However, passports printed after July 1, 2011 no longer bear this stamp.[13]

Types[edit]

First editions of the Philippine biometric passport. From left to right: regular, official, and diplomatic.

There are three types of Philippine passports issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs. These are currently designated by the colors maroon (regular), red (official), and dark blue (diplomatic).

Regular (maroon)[edit]

A regular passport is issued to any citizen of the Philippines applying for a Philippine passport.[2] It is the most common type of passport issued and is used for all travel by Philippine citizens and non-official travel by Philippine government officials. Since September 17, 2007, all new Philippine passports have been issued with maroon covers.[citation needed]

Official (red)[edit]

An official passport is issued to members of the Philippine government for use on official business, as well as employees of Philippine diplomatic posts abroad who are not members of the diplomatic service. It is the second of two passports issued to the President and the Presidential family. As such, this passport does not extend the privilege of diplomatic immunity. Government officials are prohibited from using official passports for non-official business, and as such also have regular passports.[2] This passport has a red cover. This passport has a validity of 6 months.

Philippine Official (Red) passport inside page 2-3

Diplomatic (blue)[edit]

A diplomatic passport is issued to members of the Philippine diplomatic service, members of the Cabinet, service attachés of other government agencies assigned to Philippine diplomatic posts abroad and Philippine delegates to international and regional organizations. It is the first of two passports issued to the President of the Philippines and the Presidential family.[2] This passport has a dark blue cover and extends the privilege of diplomatic immunity to the bearer.

Physical appearance[edit]

Philippine passports are maroon, with the coat of arms of the Philippines emblazoned in the center of the front cover.

Front cover[edit]

The word "PILIPINAS" is inscribed above the coat of arms, which now has hatchings to indicate the tinctures gules (red, for the right field) and azure (blue, for the left field). The word "PASAPORTE" is inscribed below, with the biometric passport symbol EPassport logo.svg appearing beneath it.

Passports issued during the latter years of the Fourth Republic had the order reversed (strikingly similar to the United States passport), with "PASAPORTE" on top and "REPUBLIKA NG PILIPINAS" on the bottom. All passports issued since this period have the cover in Filipino.

A typical passport has 44 (previously 32 or 64) pages.

Languages[edit]

Philippine passports are bilingual, with both issued text and information page data in Filipino followed by English translations. Brown passports once had all the Filipino text written with diacritics; this was discontinued in the green and maroon passports.

Data page[edit]

Philippine passports have different styles of data pages. Old brown passports have both a data and physical description page, with the picture located on the description page rather than the data page; these are separated by the passport note. Green passports issued before 2004 have the data page on the inner cover followed by the passport note page. Passports issued after 2004 have the passport note and data pages reversed, with the passport note on the inner cover page.

The data page contains the following information:

  • Passport type (P)
  • Country code (PHL)
  • Passport number
    • Passport numbers vary with each type of passport. Brown passports have a letter followed by six numbers, while green passports issued before 2005 have two letters followed by six numbers. Passports issued after 2005 (including machine-readable and biometric passports issued prior to August 15, 2016) have two letters followed by seven numbers. Passports issued after August 15, 2016 have a letter followed by seven numbers, which is then followed by another letter.
  • Names
    • A bearer's last name goes first, followed by the first names and middle name (mother's maiden last name)
  • Nationality (Filipino)
  • Date of birth (written in DD-MM-YYYY date format with months abbreviated)
  • Sex (M or F)
  • Date of issue
  • Date of expiry
    • A Philippine passport is valid for five years from the date of issue. Passports issued from 1981 to 1986 were valid for two years and may be extended for another two years.

As of June 2017, a bill was approve by the Congress to extend the validity of passport from five to ten year validity, awaiting the approval by President Rodrigo Duterte.

  • Issuing authority
    • Valid issuing authorities for Philippine passports include the main office of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila, branch offices of the DFA located in certain cities around the Philippines, and Philippine embassies and consulates.
  • Signature of bearer (for biometric passports)

With new maroon-covered passports, the passport data page ends with the Machine Readable Zone. This zone is absent in green-covered passports.

Passport note[edit]

The passports contain a note from the issuing state that is addressed to the authorities of all other states, identifying the bearer as a citizen of that state and requesting that he or she be allowed to pass and be treated according to international norms. The note is first written in Filipino followed by the English translation:

in Filipino:

"Ang Pamahalaan ng Republika ng Pilipinas ay humihiling sa lahat na kinauukulan na pahintulutan ang pinagkalooban nito, isang mamamayan ng Pilipinas, na makaraan nang malaya at walang sagabal, at kung kailangan, ay pag-ukulan siya ng lahat ng tulong at proteksyon ayon sa batas."

in English:

"The Government of the Republic of the Philippines requests all concerned authorities to permit the bearer, a citizen of the Philippines, to pass safely and freely and in case of need to give him/her all lawful aid and protection."

At the last page (on page 44) are the emergency contact details, and a warning about E-Passport EPassport logo.svg

in Filipino:

"Ang pasaporteng ito ay naglalaman ng sensitibong electronics. Huwag tupiin, butasan, o ilantad sa labis na init o lamig ang pasaporteng ito. Ingatan din na huwag mabasa."

in English:

"This passport contains sensitive electronics. Do not bend, perfrorate, or expose this passport to extreme temperature, or excess moisture."

Signature field[edit]

A Philippine passport is invalid if the passport is not signed, and normally the bearer affixes his/her signature on the signature field, whose position has varied with various incarnations of Philippine passports. Persons too young to sign a passport previously may have a parent or legal guardian sign the passport on their behalf, although this has since been prohibited.

Brown passports originally contained the signature field below the data page at the passport's inner cover. When green passports began being issued in 1995, a field where the bearer must sign the passport appeared below the passport note.

Machine-readable passports originally had no signature field, a source of much controversy as Filipinos applying for foreign visas, whether for travel or employment, have either been requested to get a copy of their passport application form to verify their signature,[14] or denied altogether. Newer versions of this passport eventually had the signature field at the back cover, below the important reminders for Philippine passport holders, while older versions have the field stamped on.

Biometric passports from August 2009 to August 2016, are the only Philippine passports which do not require the physical signature of the bearer, as an image of the bearer's signature is printed onto the passport data page. Physical signatures are once again required for biometric passports issued after August 15, 2016, with the signature field on page 3.

Visa requirements[edit]

Countries and territories with visa-free entries or visas on arrival for holders of regular Philippine passports

In 2016, Filipino citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 61 countries and territories, ranking the Philippine passport 76th in the world according to the Visa Restrictions Index.

Fees[edit]

The new biometric Philippine passport costs 950 pesos (approximately $21) in the Philippines or $60 abroad. Overtime processing for new passports costs an additional 250 pesos. Persons who take advantage of overtime processing get their passports within ten working days, but is only available in the Philippines. Passports previously could be amended for 100 pesos (approx. $2.50) in the Philippines or $20 abroad, although machine-readable passports are no longer amendable.

Lost or stolen passports may be replaced for 700 pesos (approx. $15) in the Philippines, $90 abroad.

The DFA also offers other channels for the public to apply for their passports. Aside from the traditional on site application process, there is also a DFA Express Passport Delivery hotline (02)737–1000 where an individual can call, inquire, and have his passport picked-up, processed and delivered to his doorstep. The third option is an online application process at www.passport.com.ph [1], which has a similar door-to-door delivery feature.

Gallery of historic images[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bacani, Louis (July 20, 2015). "New Batangas printing plant to speed up e-passport issuance". PhilStar.com. The Philippine Star. Retrieved March 18, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d Republic Act No. 8239: Philippine Passport Act of 1996
  3. ^ Old RP passports out, new hi-tech passports in, ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs, August 16, 2007
  4. ^ DFA: ‘RP passport exposes Filipinos to discrimination’, Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 13, 2007
  5. ^ DFA issues machine-readable passports to govt execs, Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 13, 2007
  6. ^ Philippine Embassy Issues Clarification On Validity Of Green Passports – http://www.philippineembassybrunei.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=154:philippine-embassy-issues-clarification-on-validity-of-green-passports&catid=10:press-releases&Itemid=48
  7. ^ "Philippine green passport validity and expiration date". PINOYMONEYTALK. January 30, 2009. Retrieved January 18, 2017. 
  8. ^ http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20090811-219798/President-gets-first-RP-electronic-passport "President gets first RP electronic passport"
  9. ^ "PH to issue new 'high-security' passports at 'faster' pace". Rappler. August 14, 2016. Retrieved January 18, 2017. 
  10. ^ de Leon, Janice Ponce (August 15, 2016). "First look: ‘high-security’ Philippine passport unveiled in Dubai". Gulf News. Retrieved January 18, 2017. 
  11. ^ Tesorero, Angel (August 16, 2016). "WATCH: Philippines gets more secure, beautiful new passport". Khaleej Times. Retrieved January 18, 2017. 
  12. ^ Services – INQUIRER.net
  13. ^ Passport General Information
  14. ^ Passport system causing visa applicants, travel agents headaches, The Philippine Star, May 2, 2008

External links[edit]