DFA Ilocos to open May 8

By Leilanie Adriano

May 2, 2018, 11:22 am

<p>The DFA San Nicolas in Ilocos Norte is set to open on May 8, 2018. <em>(Photo by Leilanie Adriano)</em></p>

The DFA San Nicolas in Ilocos Norte is set to open on May 8, 2018. (Photo by Leilanie Adriano)

LAOAG CITY—The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is set to open its newest consular office at the Robinsons Mall in San Nicolas town on May 8.

Glenda Alonzo, manager of Robinsons Mall, San Nicolas town announced this on Wednesday as the new consular office located at the second floor of the main building of the Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC) is now ready for occupancy.

For years, passport applicants in this northern part of Luzon had been longing for the opening of the DFA Ilocos to save on travel cost and time going to La Union, Baguio or Tuguegarao City in Cagayan to avail of the agency’s services. It shall be open from Monday to Saturday.

“I’m excited for the opening of the DFA San Nicolas. I hope it would be easier to make online appointment this time,” said Aira dela Cruz of San Nicolas town.

Earlier this year, the DFA and RLC management agreed to host a new consular office here to benefit hundreds of Ilocanos regarded as top migrants in the country.

Through a public-private partnership agreement, the new DFA consular office in Ilocos Norte is expected to save on government cost while improving the delivery of passport services in a more applicant-friendly setting.

Prior to the establishment of DFA Ilocos, residents here are always looking forward to the next schedule of mobile passporting services upon the request of the provincial government of Ilocos Norte or the city government of Laoag to the DFA Central Office.

According to Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Frank Cimafranca, DFA passport production increased by nearly 20 percent last year. The increase was a big jump from the 1.89 percent increase in 2016 and the .054 percent increase in 2015.

Cimafranca said that with the high demand for passports, President Duterte signed Executive Order No. 45 allowing the DFA to open additional consular offices.

Aside from DFA San Nicolas, the DFA will open five more consular offices in different regions in the coming months.

DFA has been implementing measures to cope with the strong demand for passports, especially after the rollout of passports valid for 10 years. (PNA)