Friday, May 27, 2011

Passport to Failure

Yesterday, I took a day off from work to apply for passport renewal. Destination: the Philippine Consulate Office in Dubai. In less than 10 minutes after arriving, I was ready to leave the premises. But don't get impressed, I didn't get a new passport that fast. I was just given a date and told to come back in August for my appointment. Unbelievable! What an effective way to render worthless the almost two hours I spent locating their office. On my way home, I couldn't help but felt appalled about the pathetic situation at the consulate, from its location, the building itself, the people and the whole damned system. Everything is so Philippinized and it's not good.

The Consulate Office is housed in a villa located in Al Gusais, an area outside of Dubai where a lot of industrial warehouses and labour camps are situated. The villa is not even along the highway and for first timer like me commuting by public transport, getting lost is definitely part of the iterenary. The only mark that says it's the Consulate is the high flying Philippine flag whose colors have seemed to fade due to extreme heat and wind. Outside the gate are no fixers, but sideliners: Kabayans selling packed lunch and all sorts of Pinoy kakanin and Kabayan carlifters (private taxi?) ready to drive you wherever you would want to go.

the waiting area

Sadly, I didn't get the chance to see the inside of the building. My appointment date was given at the waiting area where hundreds of other other kabayans wait in sweat. There were at least 40 monobloc chairs and jokingly, one more kabayan, the trip to Jerusalem is ready to get started. Fortunately, there are trees inside the compound providing shed to all others standing with their backs against the walls. There was clearly no regards to applicants in as far as reception is concerned. The place is uberly crowded reminiscent of the PRC and DFA Pasay set-up. No wonder, a burglary in 2008 have cost the consulate some PHP 1.5M in cash.

Two months from now, I will be returning to the Consulate for my appointment. I would have to submit the completed form (passport renewal), my original passport and copies of visa. I also have to pay AED240 (PHP2,700) as fees. The new passport will be released three months after. All in all, it will take approximtely 5 months to renew a passport in Dubai. According to the circular the Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi has released early this month, OFWs should apply for passport renewal at least 8 months prior to its expiry. They cited some glitches with facility that makes the new machine readable passports, not to mention the surge in application for new passports as cause of delay. If only citizenship can be changed in months!

Passport is an important document. If no ID means no entry and no guts means no glory, then no passport means no OFW nd no OFWS means no hope for the Philippines. But what do we get in return? It would have been understandable if getting a passport comes free. But it's not, so then where do the fees go? Passporting has become more of a business for the government so I think they should make an investment if their current system fail to perform its task well. Something's wrong here. Maybe that's the reason why there has been an influx in passport application. Many Filipinos don't see anymmore future in the Philippines and they just want to explore hope and life beyond the Orient Seas.


  1. so pati pala dyan ay dapat na scheduled. di na din pwede walk-in. dito sa pinas schedule din ang appointment ng passport

  2. Bad!

    Tsk! Ngayon ko lang nalamang ganu'n pala talaga karami ang mga Filipinos sa UAE?! Nakapila ang magri-renew ng passport! Sana ay maayos na ng consulate office NATIN dyan sa Dubai ang system.

    Timely. Kanina ako nag-apply ng aking Australian passport, ginawa ko lang sa Australian post office, walang appointment, pagdating ko ako kaagad ang inasikaso, less than seven minutes- DONE! Hintayin ko nalang ng 14 days maidi-deliver na sa aking PO box! Imagine?!

  3. hi duboy,
    napanood ko nga sa TFC kung gaano kahirap ang pagkuha or pag-renew ng passport ngaun. what had happened to our consulate/govt?

    nag-renew ako ng passport last oct 2009 at maganda naman ang aking naging experience noon. nai-blog ko pa nga:

    i've heard na kung minsan pumapasok pa ang mga taga-consulate ng friday para nga mai-accomodate ang mga kumukuha ng passport but it seems nde ito ang effective solution. i can only hope na sana gawan nila ito ng paraan.

  4. i have heard that the Indian embassy in Dubai has already outsourced the processing of passports kaya they only have to wait for 2 weeks at the most para makuha yung kanilang passport. I was so FRUSTRATED as to how that jurassic system of our government has crept its tentacles here in Dubai where efficiency has always been the norm rather than the exception. Sana the least they could have done is to provide a decent building to the consulate which SHOULD have been accessible sa mga OFWs at presentable naman kahit papaano with airconditioned lounges sana at nakalimutan yata nilang disyerto itong lugar na ito. Papatayin yata nila ang mga tao sa init sa kahihintay. We have the right to complain kasi we have been paying those excessive fees but we cannot see any improvement in the facilities and the system.

  5. @Bino

    may problema nga daw sa machine na gumagawa ng computerized passport, jan din kasi gagawin sa pinas ang mga passports na nirerenew sa dubai. hay wattudo

  6. @RJ

    congrats RJ! isa ka ng certified aussie! hindi na nga yata talaga uunlad ang pinas sa ganitong larangan. pila, pera, patong patong na problema, ewan apply na nga din ako sa australia o canada!

  7. @animus

    wow buti naman nag comment ka, at dahil jan, magcocoment din ako seo! bwahahaha. ok pa nung 2009, pero ngayun its getting worst! sana pag narelease yung bago kong passport, at nagexpire ulit, nasa iba na ang citizenship! lol

  8. @Anonymous

    ur perfectly right anonymous, we really lag far behind sa mga counterparts natin when it comes to public service. puro kasi corruption and all.

    thanks pala for dropping by and leaving a comment.

  9. Tsk,tsk,tsk. ang laking ng perang pumapasok sa agency na ito.Bakit naman po di nila maaayos ang serbisyo nila.Magayos naman kayo.

  10. how sad. good thing, I have temporarily suspended my filipino citizenship. i hope it would be OK by the time I need to reacquire it.