The Philippines has begun issuing machine-readable passports as a first step toward offering e-passports which contain microchips with a person’s biometric data in the next few years. The machine-readable passports (MRPs) do require applicants to provide biometric data which is currently stored in the Department of Foreign Affairs database. The DFA is now capable of processing 10,000 passport applications a month and is ready to transition over to MRPs. Processing takes 12 working days and will be available September 17th for the general public. Old passports are still currently useable. The plan for MRPs began several years ago but was tied up in legal and judicial cases. All passports are required to be MRPs by 2010.