Duterte okays extension of passport, driver's license validity, free internet access program
President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law three measures, such as extending the validity of passport and driver's license, and provision of free internet access in public places.
Duterte inked on August 2, 2017 Republic Act No. 10928, extending the validity of regular Philippine passports to 10 years.
Passport of a Filipino who is under 18 years old has the validity of five years.
Prior to the new law, a regular passport is valid only for five years.
The Department of Foreign Affairs is tasked to issue implementing rules and regulations and "adopt the best practices" to ensure the passport processing system is "seamless, convenient and pro-people, and the production and security of passports at par with technological advances and world standards," the law said.
Duterte also approved RA 10930 rationalizing and strengthening the policy regarding driver's license by extending its validity for five years reckoned from the birthdate of the licensee unless sooner revoked or suspended. Student permits are not covered by the extension.
Currently, the validity of driver's licenses is three years.
The new law, which was signed on August 2, provides for stricter rules before the issuance of the driver's license and stiffer penalties for the violators.
Duterte, on August 2, also inked RA 10929 establishing the free internet access program in public places in the country.
The program covers national and local government offices; public basic education institutions; state colleges and universities and Technical Education Skills and Development Authority technology institutions; public hospitals, health centers and rural health units; public parks, plazas, libraries, and barangay reading centers; public airports and seaports; and public transport terminals.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology is the lead agency for the implementation of the Act.
DICT shall make sure that the minimum internet speed per user is two megabits per second or as prescribed by the National Broadband Plan, whichever is higher.
"Access to pornographic websites shall be prohibited under the program," the Act read.
The extension of the validity of passport and of driver's license shall be effective 15 days after publication in the Official Gazette or a national newspaper of general circulation.
RA 10929 will also be valid 15 days after publication in Official Gazette or in any two newspapers of general circulation. Celerina Monte/DMS