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 E-passport spares OFWs from embarrassment, says DFA

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PostSubject: E-passport spares OFWs from embarrassment, says DFA   Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:48 pm

An e-passport is a passport which features microchip technology. An integrated circuit (chip) within its pages contains the data that are essential in verifying the identity of the passport holder. These data include the personal data found on the data page of the passport, the biometrics of the passport holder, the unique chip identification number, and a digital signature to verify the authenticity of the data stored on the chip.


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Aside from being high-tech, the new electronic passport or e-passport will spare overseas Filipino workers (OFW) from being embarrassed in other countries, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Friday.

“The embarrassment that our Filipino workers experience is no longer there (with the e-passport)," DFA Secretary Alberto Romulo told reporters in a press conference held in Manila on Friday.

As of now, Filipinos are either using manually scripted passports (green or brown) or machine-readable passports (MRP).

But the DFA said the e-passport is more advanced than the two because it has a 64-kilobyte microchip where the security features and personal data of the holder are stored – a measure meant to combat fraud and tampering of the travel document.

Using it, Romulo said OFWs can just pass through the immigration of the host country without any problem – unlike previous instances when many of them are held there for a long time.

“You are waved through with hardly any questions asked, kumbaga, balewala (in other words, no hassle)," he said, adding that if the Filipino is asked anything, it would just be how long he or she will be staying the country.

According to Romulo, the Philippines is one of the 62 “progressive countries" issuing e-passports to its citizens.

The DFA said it will be releasing an initial two to four million e-passports which can be availed within three to four days for P950 each. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was the first Filipino to receive an e-passport with code EA000001.

But it clarified that both the manually scripted passports and machine-readable passports will remain valid until their expiration date. - GMANews.TV
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