Published May 19, 2017 4:29pm
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday vowed to look into the problems that continue to beset passport application in the country.
Cayetano made the pronouncement after learning — during a surprise visit at the Department of Foreign Affairs passport center in Pasay City — that some applicants had been waiting in line for more than five hours to complete the application.
A report by JP Soriano on Balitanghali said Cayetano was set to release recommendations on how to cut the long lines at DFA offices and make online passport application more efficient.
Cayetano's recommendations will come on the heels of the House of Representatives' ratification of a bicameral report on the proposal to extend the validity of passports from five to 10 years.
Meanwhile, Cayetano also echoed Malacañang's position that foreign aid offered to the Philippines that involve pre-conditions will not be entertained.
On Thursday, the Philippine government had said it would no longer accept a development aid from the European Union (EU) because the grant would involve the union being allowed to meddle in local affairs.
EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen said the decision to cut aid from the EU, a strong critic of President Rodrigo Duterte's drugs war, would mean the loss of about 250 million euros ($278.73 million) worth of grants mostly allocated to Muslim communities.
As its relationship with the EU seemed to be taking a backseat, the Duterte administration — proclaiming a more independent foreign policy — continues its pivot toward China as its regional ally, despite unsettled dispute on the South China Sea.
The Philippines and China on Friday began bilateral talks on the South China Sea, where, according to Cayetano, issues on fisheries will be raised.
The newly appointed Foreign Affairs chief reiterated that while the Philippines will maintain a good relationship with China, the Duterte administration will continue invoking its territorial rights. — Anna Felicia Bajo/MDM, GMA News