24 March 2022 – In a bid to address the long queues forming outside the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) offices, the Anti-Red Tape Authority is pushing for the integration of the services of the DFA and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for Apostille appointments.

An Apostille is a certificate that authenticates the origin of a public document. It is issued by a country that is party to the Apostille Convention to be used in another country which is also a party to the Convention.

Following informal discussions with the said agencies, ARTA Secretary Jeremiah B. Belgica said the parties agreed in principle to automatically forward NBI clearances to DFA for Apostille.

With this, applicants no longer need to go to DFA and submit their applications for Apostille but will just wait for its release.

Another recommendation of the ARTA czar is the fast-tracking of an e-Apostille system to automate the process.

ARTA Sec. Belgica also said that the DFA could consider maintaining their offices open seven days a week instead of implementing cut-off systems to cater to all applicants. They could also activate courier services for door-to-door deliveries of documents which would lead to less people trooping to DFA branches.

“These are important streamlining strategies that would address and prevent situations like the one that we saw while conducting inspections on the field,” ARTA Sec. Belgica said in reference to his on-the-ground inspection on Tuesday, 22 March 2022 after receiving reports on long lines forming outside the DFA-Office of Consular Affairs (OCA) in Parañaque City due to an influx of applicants..

Here, the DFA-OCA said that aside from those with passport appointments, there are also overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who queue up for their Apostille appointments.

The ARTA Director General will continue discussions on the said streamlining solutions with officials from DFA and NBI on Thursday afternoon.

“ARTA has always reminded and championed the idea of a whole-of-government approach which includes the establishment of a single window for offices or agencies offering related services,” ARTA Sec. Belgica said.

ARTA assures that it will continue to support government agencies to find appropriate solutions or innovations while having its feet and ears on the ground with the people.