Filipinos want better access to passport services

Dozens of Filipinos lined the hallways at the Sheraton Hotel in Red Deer to renew their passports in an outreach mission hosted by the Vancouver-based Philippine Consulate on Friday.

Dozens of Filipinos lined the hallways at the Sheraton Hotel in Red Deer to renew their passports in an outreach mission hosted by the Vancouver-based Philippine Consulate on Friday.

It was the second outreach mission this year that offered Filipinos, including permanent residents and temporary workers, the opportunity to renew their passports without travelling to the consulate in Vancouver. While there are Philippine consuls in Edmonton and Calgary, they do not offer passport renewal services. Filipinos must apply in person to renew their passports.

In March, roughly 600 Filipinos from across the province took advantage of the outreach mission service at the Red Deer Lodge. About the same, if not more, applications are expected to be processed over the three-day mission.

Red Deer resident Jhong dela Cruz is part of the Migrante Canada’s lobbying efforts to press the Philippine embassy in Canada to provide better access to its services throughout Canada. The organization has branches across Canada representing Filipino temporary workers. Filipinos in Canada can only renew their passports at either the Toronto or Vancouver consulate offices or at outreach renewal missions.

“Alberta has become one of the main destinations for temporary foreign workers,” said dela Cruz.

Dela Cruz said the temporary workers have to take time off from work and spend a lot of money to get a simple renewal. He said a renewal can be quite costly. Migrante Canada recently launched an online petition recently calling Ottawa to expand its services, reduce the renewal fee from $69 to $23, the fee paid in the Philippines and provide services in large cities including Calgary, Winnipeg and Montreal.

Arlyn Bello, a temporary worker, said she saved hundreds of dollars on flights and hotels when she renewed her passport two months ago at the mission. Bello said now she won’t have to worry about her passport again for another five years.

Jose Ampeso, Philippine consul general, said there are about 60,000 Filipinos in Alberta. Just last week the office offered the mobile service in both Edmonton and Calgary where thousands filed applications.

“We serve about 200,000 to 250,000 Filipinos a year,” said Ampeso.

The Vancouver consulate covers western Canada including Alberta, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. The mission wraps up on Sunday. The petition can be found at Search “Provide Accessible and Affordable Philippine Consular Services Across Canada.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Who is at highest risk of exposure to COVID-19? Firefighters, drivers, pharmacists, cooks

Central Alberta firefighter says virus taking toll on mental health

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Federal share is approaching $750 million annually, up from $618 million in 2012-13

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

N.S. fire crews continue battling ‘out-of-control’ Porters Lake blaze

Word of the fire first emerged early Saturday afternoon

Technology, representation butt heads amid debate over resuming Parliament

The Liberals are now proposing four meetings a week until June 17

Procession for Snowbirds crash victim makes its way through Halifax

The 35-year-old military public affairs officer and Halifax native died in the crash

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada as of May 23

There are 83,621 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada

Procession for Snowbirds crash victim to make its way through Halifax today

The military public affairs officer died in the Snowbirds Tutor jet crash in B.C. last Sunday

Employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

Only eight per cent of employers were fully prepared to restart operations, survey finds

Liberals table proposal for expanded Commons COVID-19 meetings, summer sittings

OTTAWA — The Liberals have tabled a proposal that would see expanded… Continue reading

Most Read