The Kapihan sa SM on August 30 featured updates from the DFA and OWWA offices in Palawan. From left to right were Rachel Ganancial from the Philippine Information Agency–Palawan, Carolina Constantino from the Regional Consular Office–Puerto Princesa, and Adignita Elijan, the Family Welfare Officer of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

Carolina Constantino, head of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) Regional Consular Office in Puerto Princesa City, noted on Wednesday that for the first half of 2023, a higher number of passport applications in Palawan were for the purpose of traveling for leisure instead of business or job opportunities.

Constantino outlined the Consular Office’s statistics for the first half of the year during “Kapihan sa SM”, a regular media event organized by the SM City Puerto Princesa Office and the Philippine Information Agency on Wednesday.

She said that among the travel statistics recorded at their Palawan office from January to June of this year, 72% (4,967 applicants) who applied for a passport intended to use it for travel purposes, whereas those who applied for a passport for work purposes accounted for only 25%.

She clarified that outside Palawan, only 20% of individuals applying for passports nationwide were doing so for travel.

She noted additionally that while the recent uptick in passport applicants could be attributed to the resumption of direct flights after the pandemic, it still reflected the quality of life in Palawan.

“Ibig sabihin ang yayaman ng mga aplikante natin, they’re not applying for work, and work is a very small percentage lang (…) Hindi kagaya sa ibang probinsiya na ang kalimitan humihingi ng passport ay may balak talagang magtrabaho abroad. So, for me, it’s a very, very good turnout. It means you are happy with your place here and you have the means to travel,” said Constantino.

Asked whether those passport applicants were intending to travel this year rather than in the future, Constantino admitted that they couldn’t be entirely certain. This is because they only kept records of applicants, not flights.

“Tama kayo diyan hindi natin masisiguro, pero from time to time kapag tinatanong po namin, lalo na po this first half of the year, mga months ng March at April. Ang nakakatuwa po minsan ay regalo nila sa mga graduating nilang anak or relatives, mga pamangkin, apo,” noted Constantino.

Constantino also mentioned that a small percentage of applicants to the CO-PPC also came from outside Palawan.

“Patuloy na dinadayo ang CO-PPC from North to South. Mayroong Ilocos Sur, and Cebu in particular, is one of the highest na pumupunta dito, so instead of going to Cebu, pumupunta pa talaga sila ng Palawan,” added Constantino.

She also said that this was only for the first half of the year, and that the statistics might change as the DFA continues its services throughout 2023.

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