DFA opens 7th mall-based consular office at Robinsons in General Santos

A September 21, 2012, press release from the Department of Foreign Affairs

As a result of an out-of-the-box formula that the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) pursued last year to effectively deliver passport and other services to the public, another DFA consular office was formally inaugurated this morning at Robinsons Place in General Santos City.

The facility, dubbed as the DFA’s General Santos City consular office or DFA-GENSAN, is the DFA’s seventh mall-based consular office in the country and its second regional consular office to open in Mindanao.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael E. Seguis led DFA-GENSAN’s inauguration together with Foreign Affairs Senior Special Assistant Rowena Sanchez, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Jaime Victor B. Ledda, General Santos City Mayor Darlene Magnolia R. Antonino-Custodio, represented by Ms. Meriam L. Buguis, Department Head of the City Economic Management and Cooperative Development Office, Tacurong City Mayor Lina O. Montilla and Robinsons Land Corporation Property Management Group Vice President Tommy O.

Also present at the event were DFA, General Santos City Government, and Robinsons Land Corporation officials and personnel, guests and members of the media.

“Last October 2011, when the Department of Foreign Affairs entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Gokongwei-owned Robinsons Land Corporation for the transfer and hosting of DFA regional and satellite consular offices, we realized the impact that this partnership would have on our consular operations,” Undersecretary Seguis said in his remarks.

“We in the Department see the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements as an opportunity for the Department to further improve our consular services by bringing these services closer to the public. An opportunity not only to make our services more efficient and responsive, but also more convenient and comfortable for the public,” Undersecretary Seguis added.

DFA-GENSAN was a result of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements the DFA initiated with Robinsons Land Corporation, which pioneered a project called “Robinsons Mall Lingkod Pinoy Center” (RMLPC), a one-stop center that offers government-related services to the public such as new passport applications and passport renewals.

DFA-GENSAN started serving the public on September 3, and will be fully operational on September 22. It is expected to cater to some 200 to 300 passport applicants daily.

It is open from Mondays to Fridays, from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., for both passport processing and releasing and on Sundays, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., for passport releasing.

The DFA-GENSAN office, which has a floor area of 200 square meters, occupies the vacant spaces beside the mall’s Cinemaworld Ticket Booth.

“I am pleased to inform that there will be other transfers and openings of DFA consular offices in shopping malls in the months to come and the DFA looks forward to continuing its partnership with the private sector for these forthcoming events,” Undersecretary Seguis announced.

The applying public can look forward to the opening of passport offices in Laoag, Batangas, Iloilo, Tacloban, Puerto Princesa, Butuan and Cagayan de Oro in the next few months.

DFA-GENSAN is headed by Officer-in-Charge Jovencio Agus.

For inquiries on how to avail of passport and other consular services at DFA-GenSan, the public may call (083) 553-8388 or send an e-mail to [email protected].

The DFA opened its passport offices at SM City Davao on September 14 and at Robinsons Galleria on September 19. Mall-based consular offices were likewise opened at the Pacific Mall in Mandaue, Robinsons Starmills in San Fernando, Pampanga, MarQuee Mall in Angeles City and SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City during the past months.

Mall-based consular offices of the DFA follow mall schedules to allow applicants to avail of consular services even after office hours from Mondays to Sundays.