The eight-week process beginning with submitting a Philippine passport application to the Philippine Honorary Consulate office on Saipan’ and ending with the Philippines sending batches of new passports back to Saipan remains relatively unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Philippine honorary consul Glicerio “Eli” Arago.
However, Arago said the recent delays that the Philippine Honorary Consulate has been experiencing are due to the reduced number of consular outreach missions the Philippine Consulate General in Guam has been doing on Saipan.
According to Arago, the Philippine Consulate General-Guam used to conduct around six outreach missions to Saipan every year. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it did not conduct any outreach missions in 2020 and is only starting to visit Saipan more regularly this year. This has resulted in a backlog of thousands of Philippine passport applications submitted to the honorary consulate that await further processing by the Guam staff.
This is because only the Guam consulate has the necessary biometric equipment and authority to do so.
The last time the Philippine Consulate General-Guam did an outreach mission was from March 18 to April 11 at the Sun Palace Hotel in Susupe.