Filipino travelers call out DFA for fully-booked passport appointment schedule

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Passport applicants at the DFA

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 11) — If you are planning to get or renew your Philippine passport, the schedule is full until March.

Enraged travelers are calling on the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to fix its appointment system for passports.

Schedule for passport appointments in all 27 DFA satellite offices across the country are fully booked until March, according to their website. Schedule for April onwards have yet to be opened.

Some netizens are posting their complaints on the DFA Facebook page and on Twitter.

A netizen said all appointments have been booked until March since December 2017.

Some alleged that "syndicates" who hoard passport appointment schedules are behind the DFA fiasco.

Facebook user Glynn Manalo said travel agencies are selling appointment schedules for as high as P7,000.

"You allow the travel and tours agencies to buy the schedule in groups hence, we the individuals who wish to renew our passports can not get a schedule at all. These agencies are making Filipino people suffer by paying 4k-7k to have passports renewed or get a new one. and yet you allow that to happen?" she said.

In September, DFA barred travel agencies from getting appointment slots to make more room for the application of individuals. Passport appointments through DFA are free of charge, while the processing of passports range from P900 to P1,200.

Facebook user Mia Tioseco accused DFA of allowing corruption to happen in the department.

"Bravo DFA for allowing your syndicate to sell these slots to agencies when there should be no fee in the first place. We all know whose corrupt pockets the money will go to," she said in her post on DFA's Facebook page.

Sass Sasot, a blogger and a vocal supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte called on Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano to "abolish the syndicate."

CNN Philippines is trying to reach out to DFA, but it has yet to respond to our request for comment.