DFA’s New [Dis]Appointment System

Last Monday, I went about the Internet to browse on the DFA website (www.dfa.gov.ph) to look for some info on how to apply for a lost passport.  I have read that they are implementing this new appointment system, meaning you have to set an appointment first with the DFA before you could start your application.  The worst thing was, since I need a replacement passport immediately, that my appointment is on June 16.  That is almost more than 45 days from now and that is not possible.  I tried calling them, but there lines were always busy (or they just hang up the phone because of numerous calls because of this stupid system).  I even went to the new Consular office but you can only talk to the guards there who knew nothing at all.  I was dismayed, disappointed, angry, you name it.  Who wouldn’t be?  With this kind of service, there would be another EDSA revolution.

So I went to my agency and talk to them about this.  They told me they couldn’t do anything about it because DFA is strict in enforcing this new system.  But they suggested to me to go to any DFA provincial offices and maybe try my luck if they are still accepting walk-in applications.  I went to browsing again the internet and chance upon DFA Lucena City and DFA Batangas City.  I decided to go to Lucena City instead, because my wife’s family is living is San Juan, Batangas and Lucena is just an hour’s drive away from their location.  Last Wednesday, I arrived at around 630 am and there are people already waiting in line.  I was number 53 on the line.  They are only going to accept the first 300 applicants per day.  Around 9 am, they let us in, by our number, to the DFA office.  Sadly, they are not accepting any walk-in applicants anymore but they are also implementing the appointment system.  But, the good side of it was that, I don’t have to wait until June 16 until I can submit my requirements so that they can start processing my passport.  I was given the May 5 1pm schedule.  Though it is not what I expected, I am still relieved to have a much earlier schedule than what I got when I applied in DFA Manila.  So, on May 5, I will be in Lucena again.

I don’t know how did the DFA come up with this system, but it really sucks, big time.  I know that this is a new system, only implemented last March 8, but it doesn’t help at all the Filipino people, especially the OFWs.  It would have been much wiser that before they implemented this system, they implemented it on a more systematic approach, not with the, “starting March 8, we are implementing a new apposintment system, blah, blah, blah” because the Filipino people is already suffering too much, and with this system, they are alleviating it a notch higher, level way up.  My suggestion is that they implement this system for the first-time applicants first, then proceed with the next steps (renewal, lost, damaged, etc.)