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Philippine government offices process a huge amount of documents, such as certificates, permits, and licenses, every day. We see these all the time, but have we ever stopped to consider where these forms come from? Well, these are produced by three recognized government printers (RGP) that are mandated by Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9970 or the General Appropriations Act of 2010, and by subsequent general appropriation laws, to undertake the printing of accountable forms and sensitive high quality or high volume documents of the government. One of these RGPs is the APO Production Unit, Inc., or simply APO. It is a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) as defined under R.A. No. 10149 or the GOCC Governance Act of 2011. With two branches located in Manila and Batangas, APO is tasked by the government to print accountable forms and high-security, high-volume documents.


The history of APO dates all the way back to 1961. The Asian Productivity Organization (APO) was formulated in Tokyo, Japan by eight Asia and Pacific region governments, including the Philippines, to promote economic development. The APO Productivity Organization Information Unit established in 1967 was replaced by the Manila-based APO Production Unit on June 30, 1971. APO Production Unit then became the official printer of the APO member countries.

In 1974, however, then President Ferdinand Marcos issued Presidential Letter of Instruction (LOI) 197, declaring APO Production Unit as a “self-sustaining operation” under the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), thereby allowing it to solicit and accept printing jobs from government agencies and GOCCs. APO Production Unit was incorporated as a non-stock, non-profit corporation with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Over the years, APO had been placed under many different agencies. In 1996, APO’s management was transferred under the Asset Privatization Trust. It was subsequently transferred to the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) in 2000, to the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in 2004, back to the OPS in 2006, and volleyed back to the PIA in 2010. Finally, Executive Order No. 4 was issued on July 30, 2010, reverting the control and supervision of APO to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), previously known as the OPS. Today, APO remains as one of the three RGPs alongside the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the National Printing Office (NPO).

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