Amid a deluge of political news – good and bad, I was happy to read about the launch of the much-awaited Philippine biometric passport in today’s papers. It is the high-tech way to travel since it is now in use in more advanced countries. The e-passport uses an integrated circuit or microchip already embedded within the document which contains not only the personal data of the holder but also his/her biometrics (face recognition, fingerprints, iris scan), a unique chip identification number, and a digital signature.
Apparently, this kind of passport is now the international standard and is being required by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Travellers not affiliated with human traffickers or Osama Bin Laden should be able to welcome this as it will speed up their clearance at immigration points. Moreover, the new system now makes it impossible to tamper and reproduce vital travel documents.
Other important details:
Cost of new passport will be P950. Present machine-readable passport is only P500.
Available in limited release now. Regular issuance will be in October 2009.
You may exchange your old passports for the biometric one, once the system is fully in place.
The Philippines is the sixth country in ASEAN to have the biometric passporting system in place. The others are Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Brunei.
The ePassport will initially be available at the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) main office in Pasay City.
For the complete info, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page on the DFA website.