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The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) formally inaugurated its new consular satellite office at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City this afternoon.
The new consular office, DFA-NCR East, is the first consular office to open in a major shopping mall in Metro Manila and is located at the 7th Floor of the newly-constructed Building C of SM Megamall.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony, marking the formal opening of DFA-NCR East, was led by DFA Undersecretary for Administration Rafael E. Seguis, SM Supermalls President Annie S. Garcia and representatives of the Local Government Office of Mandaluyong City, Councilors Francisco Esteban and Alex Sta. Maria.
The highly-anticipated event was well-attended by officials from the DFA and other government agencies, officials from the local government of the City of Mandaluyong, and Senior Executives of the SM Group of Companies.
The opening of DFA-NCR East is one of several passport offices the DFA will open in shopping malls nationwide under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements being promoted by the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III.
It may be recalled that last January 16, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario and SM Prime Holdings President Hans Sy signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the hosting in SM malls of five consular offices in Metro Manila and in other parts of the country. This PPP deal with mall giant SM aims to bring to more than P1-billion the savings to be generated by its initiative to transfer its passport offices to shopping malls nationwide while also achieving its objective of bringing consular services closer to the public.
The PPP arrangements with SM will cover the transfer and hosting of existing consular offices in Davao, Baguio and Batangas and the opening of extension offices at the SM City in Manila.
“The opening of DFA-NCR East is the continuing fruition of the President and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs’ commitment to bringing world class and convenient service to the public,” Undersecretary Seguis said.
“For the DFA, today’s event is special to us not only because we are opening a new consular office, but also because today, we are reaffirming our commitment to improve our passport services and to bring our services closer to the public,” he added.
Beginning September 3, 1,000 applicants shall be accommodated at DFA-NCR East which will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays to Saturdays for both processing and releasing and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays for releasing only. Only applicants with scheduled appointments and senior citizens with valid proof of age shall be accommodated.
To schedule an appointment, please log on to www.passport.com.ph or to www.megamall.passport.com.ph or call (02) 737-1000. DFA-NCR East will also provide authentication services to the public.