A pro-OFW group is demanding a “full refund” of the passport processing fee to all applicants affected by what it described as the “massive passport fiasco” currently hounding the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
At the same time, Migrante International, in a statement on Facebook, warned the DFA “not to make life difficult for all the people affected by this mess.”
“For whatever inconveniences this passport fiasco will inflict on the public, Migrante International demands that a full refund of the passport processing fee be distributed back to all affected passport applicants,” it said.
The group was referring to the alleged passport data breach that was bared by DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. last week, in where a disgruntled outsourced passport maker “took all” the applicants’ personal information after its contract was terminated by the government.
Migrante echoed public fear that the breach “places extensive amounts of private personal information of passport applicants under serious threats.”
“This is indeed distressing considering that it occurred while we are fast approaching the midterm national elections,” the group said, adding it fears “the dangerous implications it poses on the welfare of our dear OFWs.”
“Aside from the consequent inconveniences it will cause them, any private information leaked will surely make OFWs and all the other passport applicants vulnerable to identity theft and other fraudulent schemes,” Migrante said.
The chairman of APO Production Unit, Inc., the current printer of Philippine electronic passports, has already denied that there was a breach of data of Philippine passport holders.
“All data have been retrieved when the equipment was turned over. It was all restored,” Michael Dalumpines told reporters on Monday. “We can access everything.”
The incident is already being looked into by the National Privacy Commission. —KBK, GMA News