Tuesday, August 11, 2009

DFA Launches Philippine ePassport, Issues First ePassport to President Arroyo

PR-611-09, 11 August 2009 – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) launched today the Philippine ePassport that will make the country at par with developed countries.
No other than President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was the recipient of the first ePassport presented to her by DFA Secretary Alberto G. Romulo in ceremonies held at the DFA Auditorium coinciding with the Department’s 111th Founding Day anniversary.
President Arroyo’s ePassport bears the serial number EA0000001. To illustrate its features, the President scanned her ePassport on the passport reader which revealed her biometric information, digital signature and photograph.
A joint project of the DFA and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the issuance of the ePassport makes the Philippines compliant with international standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), of which it is a member.
Filipino travellers and migrant workers stand to benefit the most from the globally-compliant ePassport currently being used in over 60 countries.
The ePassport’s security features have been enhanced with 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 photograph 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.
The ePassport will facilitate and hasten the entry formalities in other countries of OCWs, Filipinos residing in other countries and Filipino travelers, as well as further cut down on opportunities for passport fraud and tampering.
Despite its advanced security features, the Philippine ePassport will be available for a fee of P950, making it one of the lowest-priced ePassports in the world.
Filipino passport applicants may still choose between the ePassport OR the machine readable passport (MRP) currently priced at P500.
The ePassport project is part of the DFA’s passport modernization program which started in 2007 with the launch of the machine readable passport. To date, about four million MRPs have been issued.
Initially, application for the ePassport will be on appointment basis. Full implementation of the project will take place in the next three months. END

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