The Department of Foreign Affairs today announced it has entered into partnership agreements with SM Prime Holdings and the Gaisano Group for the opening of four more mall-based consular offices that the agency said would allow it to better serve the public.
“We would like to thank SM Prime Holdings and the Gaisano Group for expanding their partnership with us,” Secretary Cayetano said following the recent signing of memoranda of agreement with SM Prime Holdings and Gaisano Malls for the rent-free hosting of the consular offices in their malls.
“We expect to serve the public better and quicker with the opening of these additional consular offices that would be hosted by our private sector partners at no cost to the government,” Secretary Cayetano added.
The Secretary said the new DFA consular offices will be located at the SM City Dasmariñas, Cavite; SM City San Pablo, Laguna: SM Cherry Foodarama Antipolo, Rizal; and the Gaisano Mall in Tagum City.
The signing of the Public-Private Partnership agreements with SM and Gaisano follow the DFA inauguration of new consular offices at the Robinsons Malls in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, Santiago City, Isabela, and Tacloban City in Leyte.
In addition, three other consular offices are being eyed in Malolos City, Bulacan Paniqui, Tarlac and Ozamiz City or Oroquieta City in Mindanao.
“Our new consular offices are bigger than our existing mall-based offices and will have facilities that will promote a more efficient work flow which will contribute towards faster passport application processing,” Secretary Cayetano said.
Secretary Cayetano thanked President Duterte for making it possible for the DFA to improve its capacity to serve the public when he signed in October Executive Order 45 that allows the establishment of additional consular offices.
According to Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Frank Cimafranca, the opening of the new offices will significantly boost the efforts of the DFA to improve its capacity to meet the unprecedented surge in passport demand.
Assistant Secretary Cimafranca said that aside from opening new consular offices, the DFA has also doubled the number of vans for its Passport on Wheels Program and expanded its Mobile Outreach Services to allow it to accommodate more passport applicants not only in Metro Manila but in the provinces as well. Its main passporting office in Aseana, Paranaque has also been doing Saturday work since January.
“We can be expected to continue our efforts to not only increase our passport production capacity but also make our consular services more accessible to the public,” Assistant Secretary Cimafranca said. DFA PR