Press Release
June 23, 2010


Senator Edgardo J. Angara has urged the next Congress to amend existing laws on the issuance and use of Philippine passports. He sought to expedite and simplify the application process of such, and to strictly enforce laws against passport tampering and forgery.

He also lamented the length of time it takes to apply for a passport, saying that overseas Filipino workers must be given priority as they are required to be deployed at agreed dates for work abroad.

Moreover, Angara warned the Filipino citizens, as well as authorities, of the rampant use of fake Filipino passports despite the introduction of the machine-readable passports in 2007. Some instances also involve counterfeit passports of foreign countries that are circulating in the country.

"The passport is an official document of identity and nationality issued to Filipinos intending to travel to foreign countries. It gives the bearer the right to receive the protection and assistance of the diplomatic and consular offices of the Republic of the Philippines abroad. It should be given the highest regard," said Angara.

Like any document, a passport may be tampered with and its contents and its supporting documents forged. Statistics of the Department of Foreign Affairs on fake passports categorize the following offenses to be used as grounds to invalidate a passport and prosecute violators:

  • proliferation of tampered photo-substituted passports;

  • assumed identity;

  • declared lost/cancelled passport intercepted by the Bureau of Immigration;

  • unclaimed/abandoned passports at foreign embassies;

  • intercepted passports mailed to US;

  • misrepresentation of civil status;

  • discrepancy in date;

  • submission of spurious / fake documents;

  • fake immigration stamps;

  • use of stolen passports; and

  • double passports.

With continuing offenses relating to the issuance, possession, use, suspension and revocation of passports, there is an insistent need to amend Republic Act No.8239 (Philippine Passport Act of 1996), which Senate Bill 896 aims to address.

Angara stressed, "To do damage to its integrity and validity or to use it inappropriately is a serious crime that is penalized accordingly. These amendments are necessary to simplify the passport documentation requirements and processes in the DFA; add grounds for its amendment, suspension and revocation; rally for the issuance of passports using tamper proof and the latest data encryption technology; and provide stiffer penalties against proliferators of fake passports."

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