There’s a good reason why personnel from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) have been instructing Filipinos to check their passports – and not just the basic details, but the passport as a whole.
In a Facebook post made by Carlos Canlas, he realized that the pages of his passport were mixed up – only when he got held at the immigration office. “When I received my passport, all the important details like my name, birthdate etc.. are correct so I didn’t bother checking all the pages. Who checks their passport ba page per page?” said Canlas.
Canlas was about to fly abroad with his new passport. He thought everything was fine since all of his personal details were correct.
However much to his surprise – the mixed pagination of his passport brought Canlas to the immigration office for questioning: “At first sabi ng immigration officer na I need to get a new passport and bring back my passport to DFA. Hindi ako pumayag. I insisted and fought that it wasn’t my fault. and boarding na at that time.. and ayaw ko maiwan sa flight kasi may connecting flight kami.”
He adds that the immigration officer then just asked him to sign a risk awareness form so that the immigration office wouldn’t be liable if he wasn’t able to pass through his destinations: “I took the risk e. May passengers daw kasi na hindi na pinaalis with the same problem. Nagmatigas lang talaga ako na hindi na yan tinitignan abroad at ng mga immigration officers.”
Thankfully, Canlas was able to reach his destination after a connecting flight to Hong Kong towards his destination in the US. “Thank heavens nalang kasi hindi na pinansin ng immigration sa HK & LA but my heart was pounding the whole time. Para akong mahihimatay sa kaba pero di ko nalang pinapahalata,”
The Filipino Times tried to reach DFA officials for their response regarding the matter but there has been no response as of press time.
Check your pages, info before heading out
In light of the inconvenience that happened to him, Canlas advised Filipinos, in general, to not just check their personal details but the passport as well.
“For those getting or renewing their passports, double check all the details and the pages of your passports before traveling abroad. Got hold at the immigration because of this stupid error,” said Canlas
He adds that technical errors like this should not cause inconvenience, especially for OFWs who have limited time when traveling back to the Philippines: “Thought of sharing this so it won’t happen with you guys. Iwas abala na rin or hassle sa bakasyon.”
Here’s his complete statement below: