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DFA cancels courtesy diplomatic passports of ex-SFAs, envoys

June 22, 2019 - Saturday 7:06 PM by PNA

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MANILA-- The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Saturday canceled the issuance of courtesy diplomatic passports to all former Philippine ambassadors and DFA secretaries.

"The DFA Office of Consular Affairs (OCA) will be issuing an order shortly, canceling all courtesy diplomatic passports, and requiring their surrender for physical cancellation," the DFA, through Assistant Secretary Emmanuel Fernandez, said in a statement.

"The practice of issuing courtesy diplomatic passports to former DFA Secretaries and ambassadors shall henceforth be discontinued," it added.

The cancellation came after the incident involving former DFA chief Albert del Rosario, a diplomatic passport holder, who was barred from entering Hong Kong on Friday.

The former top diplomat said his detention and eventual deportation from Hong Kong was in violation of the Vienna Convention.

The DFA, meanwhile, clarified that the courtesy diplomatic passport issued to former envoys are only to accord them port courtesy at immigration points abroad.

"Since the issuance of the 1993 Department Order, diplomatic passports have been issued to former DFA secretaries as well as ambassadors as a matter of courtesy, not to confer them with diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention, but only to accord them the usual port courtesies at immigration points abroad," it said.

Del Rosario was issued a diplomatic passport in December 2016 and approved by then-Secretary Perfecto R. Yasay Jr.

According to the DFA, the OCA-Diplomatic and Official Passport Section (DOPS) on June 18 revalidated del Rosario’s diplomatic passport for a business trip to Hong Kong.

The said diplomatic passport was supposed to be valid until Dec. 19, 2021.