Local July 5, 2023 | 9:45 am

The Executive Branch declares the elaboration of the electronic passport in the Dominican Republic to be of national security

Amidst the crisis caused by a shortage of passport books in various offices across the country, the Executive Power of the Dominican Republic has declared the contracting, design, and issuance of electronic passports as a matter of national security. This technology is already utilized in over 150 countries.

President Luis Abinader issued Decree 282-23 on Tuesday night, granting the General Directorate of Passports (DGP) the authority to employ legal tools and expedite the implementation of electronic passports in the country.

The declaration of national security will remain in effect for one year, and all information pertaining to the contracts made will be classified as “reserved.”

The primary objective is to enhance the security of the travel document, improve the issuance process, manage identities effectively, and provide technical evaluation reports on passport issuance in the Dominican Republic.

According to Article 4 of the decree, the DGP must follow an exceptional procedure for national security through the Transactional Portal of the Directorate of Public Procurement and Contracting, which operates under a distinct circuit for this type of process.

The DGP is required to submit a report to the Executive Branch regarding the national security contracts executed following the decree.

The discussion surrounding the implementation of electronic passports in the Dominican Republic began in 2021 when the former head of the DGP, Néstor Julio Cruz Pichardo, announced the hiring of an international advisor to guide the authorities on the adoption of this technology.

In 2022, President Abinader issued Decree 438-22, instructing twelve institutions to collaborate with the DGP in developing an action plan for the electronic passport initiative. These institutions include the Ministry of Defense, the Presidency, the Ministry of Tourism, the Civil Aviation Board, the Dominican Institute of Civil Aviation, the Specialized Corps of Airport Security and Civil Aviation, the General Directorate of Immigration, Customs, the Airport, the Interior and Police Department, and the Government Office of Information and Communication Technology.

The Presidency of the Republic released a statement highlighting one of the key advantages of the new electronic passport, which is its ability to minimize fraudulent manipulation. This, in turn, prevents individuals involved in illegal activities related to transnational organized crime or terrorism from concealing their true identities. The electronic passport incorporates encrypted electronic circuitry that comprises the e-readable passport, providing an additional layer of security.

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