Mayor Sara Duterte hailed the opening of the first Authentication Services Center of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday here, making services accessible not only for Dabawenyos but also Mindanaoans.
She said this would be more beneficial to the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), OFW aspirants and their families coming from Mindanao.
The new center, Mayor Sara said, is a promising breakthrough as the country continues to benefit from the increased remittances from OFWs given the Duterte administration’s thrust to speed up the processing of various government-issued documents.
Lawyer Brigido DJ Dulay, officer-in-charge of the Office of the Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Concerns, said the opening of the center in Davao City will do away with inconvenience and expense of authenticating documents in Metro Manila.
He said President Rodrigo Duterte on April 3 signed The Philippine Instrument of Accession to the Apostille Convention, effectively reducing the authentication process cycle by half.
“Filipinos who wish to have their documents authenticated no longer need to go to the Embassy or Consulate of the country where they intend to present or use such document,” he said.
The authentication of Philippine-issued documents alone will be accepted in 113 Apostille Convention member-countries around the world like the United States, Japan, and Australia, he said.
He said the Apostille replaces the Authentication Certificate, and this is what DFA Authentication-Davao would affix to Philippine-issued documents to be presented and used abroad.
“The roll-out of authentication services here, and the implementation of the Apostille Convention in the Philippines are a testament of the Duterte administration’s commitment to bring efficient, effective and responsive frontline services to the public,” he said.
Dulay added that streamlining the authentication of Philippine public documents, the Apostille Convention establishes conditions more conducive to foreign investment as well as raising the country’s competitiveness.
Eric Valenzuela, acting director for Authentication Division of the DFA’s Office of Consular Affairs, said DFA processes 770,000 documents for authentication here in the Philippines yearly while another 770,000 documents from overseas Filipinos abroad or about 1.4 million documents coming from here & abroad every year.
He said DFA expects the number to increase with the opening of services outside Luzon.
Authentication fee is PHP100 per document regardless of the number of pages, he said.
“Once the documents are authenticated at the center it can now be used to any country that will be presented unlike before where the authenticated documents must first pass through the embassy or consulate of that particular country before it can be used,” Valenzuela said.
Valenzuela said most of those seeking authentication of documents are OFWs and most documents are unclaimed. “We hope that with the opening of centers in the regions there will no longer be unclaimed documents,” he said. (PNA)
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