DFA rolls out authentication IT systems

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) rolled out on February 20 two authentication information technology systems, which will help improve the delivery of consular services to the public.

The roll out ceremony for the Authentication Document Management and e-Registry Systems was headed by DFA Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Concerns Rafael E. Seguis and APO Production Unit Chairperson Milagros S. Alora.

(Top photo) DFA Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Concerns Rafael E. Seguis (seated, middle) tests the online verification capability of the e-Registry System. Looking on are APO Chairperson Ms. Milagros S. Alora (seated, left), APO General Manager Jaime H. Aldaba (standing, leftmost), APO Board of Trustee Luz L. Palacio (standing, 2nd from the left), DFA Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Wilfredo C. Santos (standing, 2nd from the right) and Authentication Acting Director Siegfred T. Masangkay.  (Bottom photo) Officials from the DFA and APO Production Unit, Inc. are joined by Mr. Ishaq Ibrahim Aloraini, CDA, a.i. of the Royal Saudi Embassy (3rd from right); Mr. Saad S.M.S. Alajmi, Consul of the Embassy of the State of Kuwait (2nd from right); and Mr. Medhat Abughaneim, Media Translator from the Embassy of the State of Qatar (rightmost).

In October 2014, the two organizations signed the Memorandum of Agreement for the Procurement of Authentication Certificates with e-Registry and Document Management Systems which led to the development and commissioning of the two systems.

The development of the two IT systems as well as the acquisition of 21 computers, 11 scanners, two servers and one storage device required for operating the two systems were done at zero cost to the DFA and are value added in the printing of highly secure and tamper-deterrent Authentication Certificates.

“Consular service is not limited to the issuance of passports and visas but also includes authentication service. With the rollout of the two Authentication IT systems today, authentication service, more commonly known as “red ribbon,” takes a big leap forward from the medieval age and joins the information age. Therefore, by extension, the consular service we provide also gets a big boost from this endeavor,” Undersecretary Seguis said in his brief remarks.

The Document Management System co-developed by the DFA and APO Production Unit is designed to streamline existing repetitive and cumbersome backend operations processes to cut down the turn-around time and optimize manpower resources. The Document Management System will also serve as the platform for the standardization of authentication services in Philippine Embassies and Consulates General abroad.

On the other hand, the e-Registry System will make available a database of specimen signatures which can be accessed by DFA Satellite and Regional Consular Offices as well as Philippine Foreign Service Posts overseas.

“This will also make possible further decentralization of Authentication Services to our Regional Consular Offices, which is in line with our mantra to make consular services more convenient, closer and accessible to the public,” Undersecretary Seguis commented about the e-Registry System.

The e-Registry System likewise makes online verification of Authentication Certificates issuance by interested parties possible, further fostering security and integrity of public documents.  Starting 02 March 2015, all Authentication Certificates issued in the Philippines can be verified online through the DFA website.

“This undertaking is beneficial in light of the growing number of overseas Filipinos. Currently, one out of ten Filipinos are overseas as migrant workers and immigrants. At some point, they will need their documents to be used abroad to be legalized through our Department,” Undersecretary Seguis said.

The e-Registry System will also pave the way for the Philippines to join and implement the Apostille Convention, which streamlines into a single formality the legalization procedure of public documents to be used abroad.

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