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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesFriday, June 22, 2012
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New guidelines on travel
agency accreditation up

The Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday it will release new guidelines next week to improve the delivery of passport and other consular services to the public, its press release said.

The new guidelines, that will cover the accreditation of travel agencies, are among the measures the DFA has been taking to allow it to more effectively reach out and serve more people, particularly in the provinces, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis said in the press release.

He said it will complement the steps that have been undertaken by the DFA to improve its services like the transfer of its consular offices to shopping malls in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

People can look forward to better services once the consular offices are transferred inside shopping malls as the offices will follow the mall operating hours and will be open from Mondays to Sundays.

Seguis said the new guidelines are the result of a review of the directive on the accreditation of travel agencies in the regions that the DFA issued on May 2, the press release said.

He said the guidelines took into account the appeals for reconsideration of the directive made by the Philippine Travel Agency Association, the Philippine IATA Agents Travel Association, the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies and other stakeholders.

In its May 2 directive, the DFA instructed its consular offices nationwide to no longer accredit travel agencies offering passport services effective June 30, 2012, and to remove the special privileges enjoyed by accredited agencies like guaranteed slots and express processing for their clients.

The directive was issued to ensure that all passport applicants, regardless of their social status, get to experience the same privileges but at no additional cost to them, Seguis said.

He added that despite the improved services, the DFA has no plans of increasing passport processing fees, that remain at P950 for regular processing and P1,200 for expedited processing, the press release added.*

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