Travel firms deny involvement in selling of passport appointment slots < back

Travel associations on Tuesday denied that they are in cahoots with erring Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) personnel to sell appointment slots for passport application and renewal.

In a press conference in Microtel in Pasay City, representatives from DFA-accredited travel agencies said they were perplexed by such claims, because their own slots for passport appointments were removed by the DFA last year.

“Malaking tanong ko rin ‘yan. Paano nangyayari ‘yan? Kasi hindi pwedeng tagalabas manggagaling ‘yung slot, kasi manggagaling ‘yan sa DFA. Saan galing ang slot at sino ang nagbubukas ng slot?” said Marlene Dado Jante, president of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA).

The DFA has come under heavy fire from Filipinos — including those working abroad — who are renewing their passports because of difficulties in getting appointment through the agency’s online facilities. The DFA’s Facebook page has been flooded with complaints from people unable to get appointments earlier than March.

DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has denied that a syndicate involving DFA personnel and travel agencies is behind the alleged selling of slots for passport appointments.

Jante said some 200 travel agencies were in partnership with the DFA since 2012 regarding passport application and renewal before the department removed their slots last year.

She then warned the public against dealing with those that pose as travel agents and are selling appointments. She said the name of travel agencies is being tarnished by the issue.

“Sana po kunin ninyo ang pangalan, kung travel agency po ‘yan, kasi nadadamay ang pangalan ng mga travel agencies,” Jante said. “Anybody can claim na he is a travel agent sa social media.” —KBK, GMA News


“Courtesy of GMA News”