Bills that asked for the extension of the Philippine passports’ validity from the current 5 years to 10 years has been approved by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The announcement about the approval of the bill has been announced by House committee chairperson Rep. Linabell Ruth Villarica after House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who was also one of the authors of the bill, made a motion to approve the said bill.
There are 22 bills that pushed for this extension of the validity of the Philippine passport, an amendment to RA 8239 Section 10 or the Philippine Passport Act of 1996. These are House Bills’ 487, 1894, 1922, 1953, 1967, 1995, 2063, 2153, 2191, 2296, 2330, 2340, 2432, 2499, 2682, 2791, 2827, 2970, 3262, 3506, & 3669 which were authored by numerous legislators namely Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Representatives Teodoro Montoro, Benhur Salimbangon, Vilma Santos-Recto, Estrellita Suansing, Angeline “Helen” Tan M.D., Mark Villar, Enrico Pineda, Sol Aragones, Romeo Acop, Aniceto “John” Bertiz III, Joey Sarte Salceda, Henry Oaminal, Manuel Jose “Mannix” Dalipe, Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu, Rep. Abigail Faye Ferriol-Pascual, Deputy Speaker Rolando Andaya Jr., Reps. Elenita Milagros “Eileen” Ermita- Buhain, Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, and Gus Tambunting.
This approval led to the consolidation of the bills subject to style by the technical working group which will still need the approval of the committee.
Meanwhile, House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said that she preferred the bill to stand-alone rather than to be a consolidated package of amendments one controversial provision of the bill can cause for its entirety to be delayed. Arroyo also stressed that they didn’t want this extension to be delayed further.
Arroyo also said that this bill represents the response taken upon the Duterte administration’s request on the cut down on red tape.
Moreover, the Department of Foreign Affairs expressed its support to the proposal, recognizing the concerns of the country’s overseas workers.