Saturday, February 28, 2015

Passport Services in SM Megamall

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) consular department now has a satellite office in SM Megamall in Mandaluyong.

The satellite office of the DFA in SM Megamall or the DFA-NCR East is now ready to offer the following services to Filipinos:

New Passport Application
Passport Renewal
Replacement of lost passport
Authentication Services

This development is part of the DFA’s effort to improve their services to the Filipino people. This satellite office can serve a total of 1000 applicants daily. The DFA satellite office can only accommodate applicants with scheduled appointments, PWDs (persons with disabilities), overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and senior citizens with valid proof of age.

The DFA officer added that for the authentication services the satellite office will accept up to 200 applicants a day. Walk-in applicants are also accepted.

Schedule of DFA-NCR East
The DFA Consular Office is located at 7th Floor Megamall Building C, EDSA corner J. Vargas Avenue, Mandaluyong City, Philippines.

10 am to 8 pm, Mondays to Saturdays, for both processing and releasing
10 am to 2 pm: Sundays, only for releasing

To schedule an appointment for passport application or renewal, please log on to or to

One can also call the DFA appointment hotline (02) 737-1000.

Passport Services in SM Manila

The DFA office in SM Manila or the DFA-NCR West located at the 5th floor of SM City Manila started its operation this October. It is now ready to offer the following services:
new passport application,
passport renewal, and
authentication services.

It is open from:

Monday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 pm for both processing and releasing of passports and Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 pm, for passport releasing only.

Set an appointment by logging in to or calling the DFA appointment hotline at (02) 737-1000.

It will also accept walk-in applicants but it will be limited to the following individuals: senior citizens, infants and minors below one year old, persons with disabilities (PWD), and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Philippine Passport Fees

Passport fees vary depending on the phase of processing. Regular Processing takes 15 working days before the release of the passport while the Express Processing takes only seven working days.

For first time passport application:
Regular Processing: P950.00
Express Processing: P1,200.00

Passport fees vary depending on the phase of processing. Regular Processing takes 15 working days before the release of the passport while the Express Processing takes only seven working days.

For first time passport application:

Regular Processing: P950.00

Express Processing: P1,200.00

For renewal of passport:

Regular Processing: P950.00

Express Processing: P1,200.00

For replacement of a lost expired passport:

Regular Processing: P950.00

Express Processing: P1,200.00

For replacement of a lost valid passport:

Regular Processing: P950.00

Express Processing: P1,200.00


There is an additional fee for a lost valid passport.

MRRP/MRP – P200.00

E-passport – P350.00

2. Appointments during Saturdays are considered express processing.

- See more at:

For renewal of passport:
Regular Processing: P950.00
Express Processing: P1,200.00

For replacement of a lost expired passport:
Regular Processing: P950.00
Express Processing: P1,200.00

For replacement of a lost valid passport:
Regular Processing: P950.00
Express Processing: P1,200.00

There is an additional fee for a lost valid passport.
MRRP/MRP – P200.00
E-passport – P350.00

2. Appointments during Saturdays are considered express processing.

How to Schedule a DFA Passport Appointment Online

To avoid long lines and unnecessary trip to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the government agency encourages passport applicants to first schedule an appointment before heading to their office.

Not all passport applicants though can avail of the DFA Passport Appointment System. It is only available to new passport applicants and those who are applying for renewal. Those who have lost their passports and want to apply for a new one, they have to personally go at the Gate 2 of the DFA, Pasay City to schedule an appointment. 

There are also individuals that are exempted from the passport appointment system. It means that they can go directly to the DFA office located at ASEANA Business Park, Bradco Avenue corner Macapagal Boulevard, Paranaque City even without an appointment. Applicants who want to avail of this privilege enter through the Gate 3 of the DFA building and the courtesy lane is at the second floor. It is open from Monday to Friday only. It is not available on a Saturday. The DFA courtesy lane is available to: 
  • Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) with valid employment contract
  • Government employees (regular status)
  • Senior citizens (applicants who are more than 60 years old)
·         Spouse of government employee
·         Unmarried children of government employee
·         Parents of government employee
·         Incumbent elected officials

·         Barangay Elected Officials
·         Retired government employee of not more than 1 year

For those who cannot be accommodated at the DFA courtesy lane, here are the steps one should do to be able to schedule an appointment on the web. 

  1. Fill out the required information at this link: submit.Make sure that the information you provide is accurate.
  1. You also need to check that you have the documentary requirements for passport application and renewal before setting an appointment. 
  1. Choose an appointment date and time.
  1. After successfully setting an appointment online, you should check your email address for the reference number and a link to print your application form.
  1. There is a verification link that you need to click to confirm the schedule. Failure to confirm the appointment within 24 hours will cancel the appointment. 
  1. You will need to bring the printed application form to the DFA on your appointment.
  1. Now that you have verified your appointment, make sure that you arrive at the DFA building 30 minutes before your schedule. Latecomers will not be accommodated and would need to set another appointment for another day.
On the other hand, those who come too early would need to wait for their appointment time before they would be entertained. 
  1. The DFA site also reminds applicants that appointments from 5:00PM onwards will be considered rush processing.
  1. For applicants who can't make it on their appointment schedule date, may use the cancel appointment feature to avoid problems in your future applications.
For more inquiries, one may contact (02) 737-1000 from 8:00am - 5:00pm, Monday to Saturday.

How to Prepare for a Pre-Employment Medical Exam

Pre-employment medical exam is required by most employers to determine if an OFW is qualified and fit for the hardships of overseas jobs.  Usually, a pre-employment medical exam is requested from an OFW to be done at least three months prior to departure.  This will give enough time for the OFW to accomplish all medical requirements and be cleared to leave the country to work abroad.

Pre-employment medical exam may include physical exams and laboratory tests.  Doctors also ask OFWs to answer a questionnaire regarding their medical history. Sometimes, they tend to fill up the form while interviewing the OFW.  In such cases, OFWs should be honest in answering all questions for lying may give consequences in the future.

To ensure passing, OFWs should do this before and on the day of the medical exam.

OFWs should come early to the accredited clinic because some applied a first come first serve basis rule.  Coming early will make you finish the exam early too.  Unless there would be unexpected problems.

•   If possible, OFWs should schedule their exam when they would be relaxed so it won’t affect the BP and pulse readings.
•   OFWs should wear modest, supportive underwear.
•  If ever a fitness test is required, OFWs can wear appropriate exercise clothing and shoes he’ll be comfortable with.
•  Avoid smoking for 24 hours before the medical exam.  This will ensure that OFWs will perform better if ever a lung function test is to be done.

OFW should take a good night sleep before the examination to ensure that you are completely rested.

Avoid listening to loud music, especially if you listen with your headphones. Such practice will make an OFW have temporary hearing difficulties that could lead to not passing the medical exam.

Do not drink coffee, tea or caffeinated soft drinks at least 8 to 12 hours before your examination.

OFWs should also avoid drinking alcoholic beverages and eating fatty foods a week or more before the examination schedule because these may cause a rise in the liver function tests once required.

Limit salt intake like canned goods and preserved foods at least 48 hours before the exam.

OFWs should also avoid doing exercise or physical activities that would be vey exhausting a day or two before the exam for this can be raise some laboratory results.

OFWs must remember that it is important not to stress themselves over these pre-employment medical exams because the result will never be in their control.  OFWs should just maintain a positive outlook and to follow the guides given to be well-prepared.  

How Filipinos Can Authenticate Documents in Riyadh

The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, like any other consular offices of the Philippines abroad, offers authentication of documents needed by Filipinos as part of their pledged of service to their countrymen.

The embassy carry out its authentication and notarial services for Filipinos in accordance of the  1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.  Through their Consular officers, the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh may “authenticate an act, deed/document etc. executed or sourced with the Philippine legal jurisdiction by way of certifying said act”.

This may be as follows:

  • executed before a local notary public officer authorized to execute such functions
  • testified to by a public seal
  • rendered public by the authority of a competent magistrate
  • certified as being a copy of a public register
  • authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs

To be able to authenticate a certain document or documents, the following requirements should be submitted:

1. Application Form for notarial services (available at the Consular Section of the Embassy).

2. Copy of the original document for authentication.

3. Seal and signature of authenticating officer at the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

4. Copy of passport.

Follow these steps to authenticate your document/s:

1. Submit the listed documents above to the Consular Section (Window 3) for processing.

2. Pay the required fee at the cashier.  Service fee is SR100 per document.

3. Claim the authenticated document from the same counter the following working day from 2pm to 5pm.  Bring the machine validated invoice given to you by the cashier.

4. Make sure that the documents are authenticated and it is the right document you've first submitted to avoid problems.

Take note that personal appearance is required to authenticate your documents.  Otherwise, even with authorization letter for an authorized representative, your documents will not be authenticated.


The production of the Unified Multi-Purpose Identification Card or UMID was started by the SSS to enhance transactions and protect the institution as it uses biometric technology and fingerprint matching to identify the identity of its members. This card contains a contactless chip and magnetic stripes that stores information which can be used when transacting with other government agencies such as GSIS, PAG-IBIG and PhilHealth.
If you are an active SSS member with at least one monthly contribution, or SSS pensioners, you may apply for the UMID by filing out and submitting SSS Form E-6 to the nearest SSS branch in your area that has facilities for SSS ID capture.
You have to submit any of the following, together with the SSS Form E-6;
  1. Passport
  2. Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) card
  3. Seaman's book.
If in any case you don't have the abovementioned documents, you can provide any two of the following documents, granted they have the applicant's photograph:
  1. Driver's License
  2. Valid NBI Clearance
  3. School or Company ID
  4. Postal ID
  5. Senior Citizen Card
  6. Major Credit Card
  7. Voter's ID
  8. Savings Account Passbook
  9. Alien Certificaton of Registration
  10. GSIS member's record
  11. Certificaton form the Office of Muslim Affairs
  12. TIN card
Upon submission of the application, the SSS will gather your personal data to transfer to your UMID.  This new ID will be mailed to the address in your application.  This UMID is free for first-time applicants, but if you encounter any of the following conditions, a replacement fee will be charged for your UMID:
  • If the ID card is lost.
  • If the ID card is damaged.
  • If changing from your old SSS Biometric card to the new UMID card.
  • If the applicant avails of the option of not printing his birthdate on the card.

SSS Benefits for OFWs

The Social Security System (SSS) offers insurance benefits to Filipino workers, whether they are working in the Philippines or overseas. Being a migrant worker and an SSS member though has an advantage because they can opt to enjoy the two-tiered social security scheme of SSS for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The first layer of the SSS program for overseas Filipinos is the Regular OFW Coverage Program. This is the Basic Pension Program that aims to provide OFWs with a source of income after retirement. It was first implemented in 1995 and all documented OFWs are required to be a member. However, numerous complaints that the first layer does not provide sufficient financial protection for life’s uncertainties, SSS created a second layer of protection.

This is the SSS Flexi-Fund Program which was established in 2001 under President Arroyo’s administration that provides members with a pension and savings plan. Membership to this supplementary program is voluntary. In 2002, it was adopted as the National Provident Fund for OFWs.

Information about Regular OFW Coverage Program of SSS

Who are covered under this program?
The program covers all OFWs not over 60 years old, whether previously a member or not.

When does the coverage of an OFW member take effect?
Coverage of an OFW takes effect upon payment of the first monthly contribution.

How does one register as an OFW (New) member?
Visit the nearest SSS office and secure an Overseas Worker Record Form (SSS Form OW-1). Fill out the form and submit with any of the following documents:
* Birth Certificate
* Driver's License
* PRC Card
* Baptismal Certificate
* Passport
* Seaman's Book

What will be the basis of monthly contributions?
The monthly contributions will be based on the monthly earnings declared at the time of registration, computed in Philippine pesos. (Please refer to the Schedule of Contributions)

Where will payments be made?
* Banco de Oro
* Landbank
* Metrobank

Contributions in any given year may be paid within the same year except for the last quarter wherein payment is extended up to 31 January of the following year.

What are the benefits and loan privileges of an OFW member?
OFWs are entitled to various benefits and loan privileges, provided qualifying conditions for entitlement are met. To ensure higher benefits and privileges you can continue to pay your monthly contributions until you reach the age of 60 or 65 years old.

* Sickness
* Maternity
* Retirement
* Disability (Partial/Total)
* Death
* Funeral

LOANS: SalaryHousingHouse Repair/Improvement

Information about the Flexi-Fund Program of SSS

What is the SSS Flexi-Fund?
The SSS Flexi-fund is a voluntary provident fund for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). It is an additional service of the SSS on top of its regular OFW membership. The program gives OFWs the opportunity to set aside part of their Flexi-fund contributions, thus providing good security for their future.

What are the benefits under the Flexi-fund program?
The Flexi-fund Program is a pension plan and savings account rolled into one. Primarily, it aims to supplement the pension benefits under the regular OFW coverage. Members who reach retirement or become disabled will receive their benefits, equal to their total Flexi-fund contributions plus earnings, either in the form of monthly pension, lump-sum payment or combination of both.

Why is the SSS Flexi-fund a good investment?
Flexi-fund contributions are invested entirely in government securities. Interest earnings are computed based on the average 91-day Treasury bill rate, thus ensuring a transparent, high-yielding and risk-free investment of members' hard-earned income abroad.

Who may enroll in the Flexi-fund Program?
The Flexi-fund Program is exclusive to OFW members who are paying contributions based on the prevailing maximum monthly salary credit (MSC) under the regular SSS coverage program. Enrollment is done using SS Form OW-1 , indicating application for Flexi-fund membership, to be submitted to any SSS Foreign Representative office . Local SSS branches also accept OW-1 forms but will require registrants to present valid Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) or E-receipt issued by the POEA as proof of pending deployment.

How can OFWs contribute to the SSS Flexi-fund?
Contributions can be made anytime, provided the Flexi-fund member has paid the maximum monthly SSS contribution (currently at P1,560) for the applicable period. Any amount, not less than P200, paid in excess of the required contribution will be posted to the member's Flexi-fund account and earn interest (e.g., if total payment for applicable month of January is P2,000, the amount of P1,560 will be for regular SSS and P440 for Flexi-fund).

Can Flexi-fund deposits also be withdrawn? What are the requirements?
Flexi-fund members may opt to apply for early withdrawal of their accumulated funds, either in full or partial lump sum, in case of urgent financial needs. Pre-termination fees, however, will be imposed on withdrawal of contributions that have stayed in the Fund for less than a year.

For all Flexi-fund benefit claims, including early withdrawals, use SS Form DDR-2, which is also downloadable from the SSS website. This should be submitted to any local SSS branch, together with 1x1 ID picture and photocopy of SSS digitized ID card or passport, for claim settlement.

How to Amend SSS Membership’s Data

Every Filipino employee and OFW is entitled to be member of the Social Security System or SSS.  They have to fill out an SSS membership form and pay the monthly contribution.  However, question arises on how one would change the information on their data when one is married, when there is correction of name or date of birth and if there is change or additional beneficiaries.

Changes in a member’s record should be reported immediately to the nearest SSS office.  This should be done by accomplishing SSS Form E-4 or the Member’s Data Change Request Form.

Together with this duly accomplished form, submit the original or certified true copy of the following requirements depending on which amendment you’ll make:

1.    For correction of name and/or date of birth – Birth certificate.  If the birth certificate can’t be presented, any of the following must be submitted.
  • Certificate of non-availability of Birth Records from the City/Municipal Registrar/National Statistics Office (NSO)/National archives for the previously recorded and alleged correct name/date of birth.
  • Any two of these secondary documents showing the correct name/DOB – baptismal certificate, driver’s license, GSIS Member Record, Life Insurance Policy, Marriage Contract, NBI Clearance, Pag-Ibig Fund Member Data Record, Unexpired Passport, Record of Employment, School Records, TIN ID, or Voter’s ID. 
  • If for the correction to totally different name/middle name, joint Affidavit of two persons who have personal knowledge of the facts and circumstances in the use of the different names/middle names.

 2.    For change of civil status.
  • If from single to married – marriage contract.
  • If widowed – death certificate of spouse.

3.    For new/additional beneficiary/dependent.
  • Marriage certificate if spouse.
  • Birth certificate if children. 
4.    For deletion of beneficiary.
  • If from parents/other person to spouse- marriage certificate.
  • If from parents/person other than the spouse to children – birth certificate.
  • If from spouse to another spouse, whichever is applicable – death certificate, certificate of finality of annulment, certificate of finality of nullity, certificate of finality of declaration of presumptive death, decree of divorce and certificate of naturalization or its equivalent and certificate of divorce if Muslim member. 

SSS Form E-4 should be filled out in two (2) copies with no erasures or alterations.  This should be submitted to the nearest SSS office personally with valid identification documents. If the amendment is to be filed by an authorized representative or company representative, a letter of authority and Authorized Company Representative Card (ACR) or LOA and their two valid ID’s should be presented together with the member’s SS card and two valid ID’s also.

Steps to Work Abroad for Filipinos

Working abroad is the option most Filipinos see as a way to ensure a better future for their family than finding a job here in the Philippines.  

With such desperation, many Filipinos fall as prey of illegal recruiters and recruitment agencies taking advantage of them.

Here are some of the procedures for a legal deployment process:

An interview by the employer. The foreign employer’s interview will be set on a specific date and only shortlisted applicants will be given the chance to be interviewed. This may be a face to face interview or via Skype.  Some agency just sends the applicants resume via email and then the employer will just response as to whom he had chosen to hire by sending an acceptance letter.

A contract or job offer signing. The contract should specify details about the salary, benefits, job title, job description, etc. You should understand what your contract says before signing it. Contracts should also have a copy in English version.

Submission of required documents. Filipinos who want to work abroad are usually ask for documents like passport, NBI clearance, transcript of records, passport photo, license if necessary, training certificates etc.

Undergo a medical exam. All Filipinos should take the pre-employment medical exam as a proof that they are fit to work abroad on the specified job opening. This must be done only after if you have passed the employer’s interview and you are accepted or hired, so as not to waste much money by taking the medical exam.

Note: Pay directly to the clinic for your medical exam and not to the agency.

Issuance of your work permit/visa. Your visa will only be processed once your medical exam certifies that you are fit to work abroad. Processing fee for your visa is to be shouldered by your employer.

The flight schedule and ticket. Once your visa is released and your agency has it, they will give you your flight schedule and ticket. Remember that your ticket is also to be shouldered by your employer since they need you to work for them.

Overseas Employment Certificate or OEC processing. The OEC, which is to be obtained from the POEA, will be your proof that you are a valid OFW who will work abroad. OWWA membership, PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG benefits are your privileges as a legitimate OFW. You can’t leave the Philippines to work abroad without your OEC since it should be presented to the Immigration officer stationed at the airport.

Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar or PDOS. This is a mandatory requirement by the POEA for every Filipino who is going to work abroad. It is the last process your agency will ask you to comply before you can leave. The seminar will give you the information you need about your destination country.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: You can’t take the PDOS if you don’t have a visa yet.


Guide in Dealing with Racism

- Glaiza Anne S. Wood,    Jan 2, 2015

Racism is defined as a discrimination and prejudice based on a person’s race. It is a very common and very real social problem in our world today. It can be very difficult to deal with. People are so floored by racist slurs that they do not know what to do. As a result, they end up responding negatively causing further problems. Below are a few tips that will help in dealing with racism.
For those who haven’t directly experienced a racist attack, advice such as respecting yourself may seem futile. But, those who have landed in the thick of racially charge situations understand the need for self respect. It always goes that you cannot expect others to respect you if you don’t respect yourself. Get rid of that colonial mentality and really believe that you are as good as anybody else – regardless of the color of their skin. Once you have established inner strength, dealing with racism gets easier. You can now stand up against racial slurs and recognize it as a result of ignorance, instead of a direct attack to your person.
Assert you rights. Assert you position. Let people know that you deserve to be where you are and that you are equals. Gently (but firmly) remind them that the color of your skin does not dictate your abilities. Nor does it give them a reason to treat you badly. Keep in mind that being assertive is not the same as being superior or arrogant. Be assertive in things that you deserve. Don’t let it go too far or you’ll find that you are just as bad as the racist who attacked you.
When someone attacks you racially, your first impulse may be to respond with equal negativity. Hold off on that response. Instead try you best to steer the situation positively. Stand your ground and don’t stoop to their level. Do your best to educate your abuser. Inform them that they should look past the color of your skin and focus instead on your abilities. Responding in this manner to a racist act can be very frustrating. You may not be able to see results at the start, but later on you will see positive results.
Tip # 4 - COUNT TO 10
Responding to a racist slur or attack positively may be the right thing to do, but it can be also be very difficult. More than once you will feel the need to shout and get mad. It may seem like the right thing to do at that time, but it’s really not. In these situations, it is best to take a step back and slowly count to ten. Let your self cool down before moving forward. If 1 to 10 isn’t enough, don’t worry you have every number in the universe at your disposal.
With every negative situation, the need to vent is always present. That is why it is necessary and helpful for you to find a support group. Look for fellow Kababayans who are going through the same things that you are. Share your experiences with them and listen to theirs too. Support Groups can help you see that this isn’t happening to you alone. Members may even give you more tips on how to deal with racist attacks.
Sometimes the best way to silence racist attacks is by excelling in what you do. Gain the respect of the people around you and show them that you capable. Show them that you can do your job as well as, if not better than anyone else can. Flaunt (through your actions) the fact that you are a skilled individual and that you help make the organization better.
Tip # 7 – REPORT IT
No matter how positive you are or how you are in your job, there will always be people who just don’t understand. Some of them grew up thinking that they are superior among other races. They may be the ones who are constant in their attacks. Or those that hit your where it hurts the most. In cases like these, it takes more than a smile to make it go away. It is cases like these that you have to assert your legal rights. Report it to your superior or to the authorities before things get too violent. You have the right to do so.