THE NEWLY established Chinese consulate here in Laoag City announced that starting this July, Chinese nationals who are temporarily residing in this northern part of Luzon, and even local residents who want to visit the People’s Republic of China, can now avail of passport and visa application and processing here.
In an interview with consul Chen Lai Ping, he said that since July 2, the consular office has already started their services, including the issuance and renewal of passports and the processing of visa applications to any interested individuals, be it Chinese nationals or locals.
With a minimum fee of P1,000, Chen reported that applying for a visa is east and convenient as they would only require applicants to present their passport and at least two copies of identification photos.
For the issuance of passports, he added that for the meantime, the locally based consular office here would be sending applicants’ data via electronic mail to their counterpart in Hong Kong to process their documents and have them send it back to applicants through the consular officer here.
Since the officials start of their operations in July 2, Chen said there has been only one Chinese national who availed of their service—a passport renewal. In view of this, they are now intensifying their campaign to let everyone know that the consular office here has already started offering their consular services.
Once the number of applicants increases, Chen said their office will be opening on a whole-day basis from Mondays to Fridays. Currently the Chinese consulate is only open half a day.
With the geographical closeness of China, Laoag and its surroundings areas have now become one of the most popular destinations for Chinese tourists in the Philippines and are attracting more Chinese to visit, study and even invest in this northern gateway.
The PROC and Ilocos Norte earlier pledged an agreement to continue and renew historical ties with Northern Philippines by expanding cooperation in the fields of infrastructure, tourism, trade, mining and agriculture.
Leilanie G. Adriano