President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed today, August 2, bills that prolong validity of Philippine passports and drivers’ licenses, and establish free internet access in public places.
Republic Act (RA) No. 10928 extended the validity of regular passports from five years to 10 years, except for individuals under age 18.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the issuing authority for Philippine passports, “may limit the period of validity to less than 10 years, whenever in the national economic interest or political stability of the country such restriction is necessary”, the RA stated.
Similarly, RA 10930 extended the validity of drivers’ licenses to five (5) years. If a driver commits no traffic violation within five (5) years, he may be entitled to a renewal of 10 years.
“(P)rior to the issuance of said license, the applicant shall present himself/herself in person and have his/her photograph taken by the LTO (Land Transportation Office). All drivers’ licenses issued shall be signed in the presence of the LTO Head or his/her deputies and shall bear, among others, the full name, date of birth, height, weight, sex, color of eyes, blood type, complete current address, biometrics, license number, and its date of issue and expiration,” RA 10930 said.
A fine amounting to P20,000 will be imposed if an applicant for a driver’s license is found to have misrepresented material information, connived with the issuing officer, falsified documents, or cheated during examinations. In addition, the license of an erring applicant will be revoked and the applicant will be banned from applying for two years.
Meanwhile, RA 10929 created a Free Public Internet Access Program. It covers public places such as government offices, state universities and colleges, hospitals and health centers, parks and plazas, libraries, airports and seaports, transport terminals, among others.
Under the Program, connecting to public internet access points will be free of charge. The free internet service provided will be separate from the internet service used for back-end computer and information systems in government offices, and technical solutions restricting access may be employed when a clear and present technical risk has occurred.
The Free Public Internet Access Fund (FPIAF), under the management of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), was created to provide funding for the implementation of the Program. ###PCO-Content