In just a span of three hours, priority numbers for slots in the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) mobile passport service, which will be held at the Capitol next month, ran out on the first day of the supposed 10-day registration period, a provincial government official said.
Vilma Yurong, chief of the Bohol Employment and Placement Office (BEPO), said they started handing out the priority numbers on February 7 at 7 a.m. but these were all claimed at around 10 a.m. on the same day.
“Wala na nato mapugngi kay pag February 7 daghan naman gyud kaayong in fact, 10 a.m. nahurot na og hatag ang priority number. Pag Feb. 7 na distribute na tanan number pero until February 10 siya kay naa y gi schedule namo og 10, 9, 8 and kadtong 7,” said Yurong.
According to Yurong, the DFA only allotted 1,000 slots for Bohol then gave an additional 500 slots after the initial allocation ran out. All of these were immediately taken on the first day of the registration.
Based on the announcement made by Governor Art Yap on his official Facebook page, registration for the applicants was supposed to be held from February 7 to 18 ahead of the operations of the DFA’s Passport on Wheels (POW) on March 14 to 18.
However, no follow-up statement was posted by the governor announcing that slots were already filled up on the first day.
While the initial announcement on the initiative was posted by Yap, the governor’s Facebook page also has the most followers in the provincial government.
The Chronicle also checked the official Facebook pages of the Provincial Government of Bohol and BEPO and did not find any update announcing that all the slots were already filled up.
Yurong admitted that applicants still arrived even after the slots ran out.
“Gipalista lang sila sa silong, sa guard para dili mosaka sa BEPO kay para in case og wala pa gyud sila maka pa appointment online unya mahatagan na og [new] schedule, ma apil sila ug makit-an namo og pila gyud ng wala ma serve na more or less ma inform pud nato sa DFA na mao pud ni kadaghana,” said Yurong.
Gay Manolong of BEPO said they listed some 1,631 individuals who went to their office but were not given appointments for the POW after the slots ran out.
There were others who also went to the office but no longer requested to be waitlisted.
Manolong said that those listed will be prioritized should the DFA launch another POW in Boho.
According to Yurong, they were expecting for the slots to immediately run out considering since the start of the pandemic the DFA had not deployed a POW, which used to be launched regularly in the province.
“Three years na pud tang wala naka mobile passporting then ga pandemic pud ta. Half of the slots na adto sa consular offices, nawa pud tungod sa limited ang ilahang ika-cater tungod sa pandemic pud,” said Yurong.
She added that they already requested for another POW in June or May but the DFA declined as the agency has other scheduled launching of the passport center in other localities.
“Departure nila from Bohol is March 19. Inig March 20 kuno ana adto na pud sila sa laing province kay mura’g ga sunod-sunod gyud kuno ilang schedule until June,” said Yurong. (A. Doydora)