Sunday, August 3, 2008

Machine Readable Passport (MRP)

My passport will expire soon. It's a relief that the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh made an advisory that they will conduct "Embassy on Wheels" in the Eastern province on 30 July to 1 August 2008. They advised applicants to go on 30 July 2008 at 4 PM to beat the long line which will be expected on regular days the following 2 days.

I arrived at Al Bustan Hotel in Al-Khobar just 10 minutes past 4 and the line was already long. Notwithstanding the heat of the sun outside the hotel, the line went on smoothly. I was able to reach the glass door at about 5 pm. Getting inside the second room was a pandemonium. The room was jampacked. There was no more line. There were about 200 inside the room. Sweats flow all over our bodies. Small children were crying. Everybody was sweating. Somebody were cursing when they reached infront of the line only to be told that the background of their photos was not ROYAL BLUE.

What is royal blue by the way? Is the shade of blue that IMPORTANT in the MRP? Do all photographers in Saudi Arabia or in the world know what the hell is royal blue? Did the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh or in any Philippine Embassy overseas post the color " ROYAL BLUE" in its website?

To top in all, there was only 1 Embassy employee who was making a receipt. Absolutely there was no order whatsoever in that room. Thinking that I won't be served because of the chaos and disorder, I decided to return to Jubail ( a one and half drive) at about 6 PM and vowed to come back the following day.

The business was supposed to start at 8 AM. I arrived at Al Bustan Hotel at 10 before 8 only to be told that the Embassy officials have changed the venue to International Philippine School Al-Khobar (IPSA).

I arrived at IPSA at 8:05 Am only to find out that the Embassy officials have stopped issuing numbers because they could not processed any more passports applications. They only entertained 700 applicants.

I do not know what to say.

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