MANILA -Â Â Thousands of suffering Filipino travelers who face passport issuance delays for months- has found a new Â savior in Boholano lawyer and Department of Foreign Affairs career officer lawyer Frank Cimafranca.
“Jojo” Cimafranca, as he is better known, Â is the new Assistant Secretary (ASEC) of the Consular Office of the DFA and his assumption into office last April was greeted by the spillover of 100,000 passport backlog issuance that peaked in February this year.
Power outages and the “obsolescence” of the six-year old printing equipment at the Bangko Central Minting Office -causing technical breakdowns that created the humongous delay.
Not minding an inherited problem, “Jojo” went to work on this management problem, using his economics and legal background plus his entire career life experience Â in DFA to thrash the passport delay problkem.
He inspected the BSP offices and found the area cramped and slow in delivery whose daily output of 11,000 passports a days was eclipsed by the daily demand for the same.Â This deficit and the old backlog was addressed and was down to 30,000 at the latest count.
Cimafranca, a legal Â scholar at the College of Law of the University of the Philippines, readily contracted an accredited government printing enterprise called APO Printing Unit to produce another 6,000 passports a day in their Lima, Batangas printing office.
The target is to process passports within 20 days *after application) Â especially since many of the applicants are OFWs , who bring in Â dollar remittances that have shored up the country’s economy for decades.
While addressing the remaining backlog, the Consular Offices abroad have been instructed by the DFA to extend the validity of the passports especially those in need of immediate travel.
Cimafranca joined the DFA service in 1991 and rose form the ranks to reach his esteemed status today by a dint of “hard work, persistence and patience” according Â to theÂ Â Manila Times.Â
“Jojo” has been posted in many areas in the globe like Â Sydney Australia, Â Malaysia, Indonesia Â and the United Nations in Geneva Switzerland His last assignment was Philippine Consul General in Dubai, UAE with 750,000 Filipinos Â before joining the Philippine DFA in April.
His experience covers a wide range of administrative and policy assignments in the Â Office of Economic Affairs, America and Asiana , Asia and the Pacific Area and the Northeast Asian Division.Â In his postings abroad. Cimafranca had rubbed elbows with many great world leaders and many more rich and famous celebrities Â who “he never dreamed he could meet in his lifetime.”
Cimafranca does not hide his rural roots and is proud to be a “probinsiyano” who rose from the DFA ranks. He is one of the 11 siblings of the late Assemblyman “Ikiong” Cimafranca, a labor leader, who also became a member of the opposition in the interim Batasang Pambansa until his death in 1984.
(ByÂ ZOILO P. DEJARESCO III)