Laoag City Mayor Michael V. Fariñas expressed his annoyance to issues that cropped up about him allegedly endorsing applicants to be processed ahead of others during the mobile passport service conducted in the city on September 3 to 4.
During the said passport service activity, several applicants reportedly used the name of Fariñas for them to be processed even if they did not get a number from the Community Affairs Office (CAO). Others who were give numbers reportedly sold these to other applicants with a higher cost. Some City Hall employees were also alleged to have inserted a number of applicants without the requisite numbers.
Numbers are being given by the CAO to passport applicants during mobile passport services to ascertain who is going to be processed first. Each number costs P100. The said fee is used to cover the expenses for the said service.
Fariñas stressed that he had not endorsed any applicant to be given preferential treatment as he has also instructed Col. Florencio Dumlao, chief of City Hall’s Civil Security Unit, to conduct an investigation on the matter.
“Nakababain dagitoy a damag saan laeng a dagiti mayat a makaala iti passport no di ket pay dagiti bisita a taga DFA a nag-conduct iti passporting (This news is very embarrassing for us not only to those who applied for a passport but also to our visitors from the DFA who conducted the mobile passport service),” Fariñas explained.
Dumlao vowed to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident.
Meanwhile, Ms Gloria F. Peralta, city administrator and the person in charge of the mobile passport service, said she had called up the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) regional office for their comments on what transpired last September 3 and 4. Peralta was out of town during the duration of the mobile service.
According to Peralta, the DFA regional officials who were in charge of the activity said they had no problem during the whole duration except when they strictly implemented the 5:00 pm cut-off time.
However Peralta admitted that some applicants had been “helped” by City Hall employees assigned at the activity through a speedier processing of their papers.
In view of these, Peralta had sought the help of the local media to help by means of giving suggestions on how to better conduct the procedures so these problems would no longer be encountered during the next staging of the activity.
Dominic B. dela Cruz