The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) yesterday justified the increase in fees for consular services, saying it would help in the operating costs of Philippine diplomatic posts in other countries.
The DFA said the fee hike, which was imposed at the start of 2009, is based on prevailing economic conditions abroad.
The group Migrante scored the DFA for the move, saying it would affect overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are already burdened by hard economic times abroad.
The group called for an investigation into the new service rates imposed in nine Philippine embassies and three consulates general across Europe despite the global financial downturn.
Starting January, the DFA mandated Philippine embassies in Greece, Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria and Vatican City and Philippine consulates general in Spain, Germany and Italy to increase the rate of euro to US dollar conversion by 25 percent.
Migrante said the increase in service fees which cover passport application and renewal amounting to 60 euros, is burdensome to OFWs already hard up due to the global crisis. – Pia Lee-Brago