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‘Cumbersome’: Palace rejects birth certificate requirement for passport renewal

MANILA – Malacañang on Monday rejected the move of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to require birth certificates for passport holders seeking to renew their travel document, following a data security breach.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it needed to “rebuild” its database for passports issued before 2010 after a “previous outsourced passport maker took all the data when contract terminated,” DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier said.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, however, said the public should not be burdened by being required to submit original copies of their birth certificate, since obtaining such requires another application process before the Philippine Statistics Authority.

“The submission of the old or current passport which the applicant seeks to renew should suffice for the purpose,” Panelo said in a statement.

“The ongoing practice is not only cumbersome to everyone affected but is a form of red tape which this administration frowns upon and will not tolerate.”

Panelo said the current arrangement for the printing of passports should be examined “to determine if there are violations of pertinent laws which may be detrimental to the public.”

DFA Assistant Secretary Elmer Cato earlier said holders of old passports- those issued until 2009 including the brown, green, and maroon machine-readable passports- were required to submit birth certificates when applying for renewal.

He said this was necessary as “we need to capture and store the document in our database as we no longer have the physical copy of the document submitted when they first applied.”

Cato said holders of passports issued after 2009 do not need to submit their birth certificates upon renewal “as the digital copy of said document has already been captured and stored in our database,” he told ABS-CBN News.

The National Privacy Commission said it would investigate the possible data breach.

“Any form of non-availability of personal data, infringement of the rights of data subjects, and harms from processing that include inconveniencing the public, must be adequately explained to the satisfaction of the law,” the NPC said.