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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Roosters, Zebras and Birth Certificate Delivery

I love it how a lot of government agencies are optimizing the electronic age by putting up their own websites. But the best move they've made is making their services accessible through web as well. Technology lessens manual work and the less manual process is done, the less interaction people will have with government staff. We all agree - less interaction means less red tape.

For example, SSS now has their My.SSS portal where employers and members members can access their contributions and membership records, make online transactions, set appointments with their SSS servicing branch, and request copies of their records, as needed.

The same with DTI where your desired business name can be filed and approved online - no need to go through effing long lines for a business name application.

And there's Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) where passport application became a long process of 4 months after they automate. Haller?!. I recently availed of DFA's passport application appointment system for my renewal and for Enoe's passport. I sought schedule in March and got an appointment for June. Walastik! (My experience merits a separate blog).

One of the requirements is an NSO copy of Enoe's birth certificate in secpa (security paper). I know I still have some copies stashed somewhere so I was very confident 'til a few days before our scheduled appearance at DFA when I decided to organize the requirements. Then I found out every single copy of Enoe's birth certificate have been submitted to various agencies when The Hubby filed for tax, social security, philhealth, etc. Ahhh procrastination at its finest!

I scrambled off my feet to get an NSO copy of Enoe's birth cert! I have little time and it was impossible to to go on the weekday since I've scheduled meetings already throughout the week. I was also very unsure of the queue so despite having second thoughts about NSO Delivery Service, I was left with no choice. I mean, our government agencies can be pretty inefficient with face to face transactions, what the hell more with virtual (online)?.

Anyhoo, I took my chances and requested  through the NSO hotline (powered by Teleserv). I realized this can be very tedious and time consuming (over the phone) especially with my son who has a kilometric name. I had to dictate his name and to make sure the agent got the correct spelling, she asked me to use phonetics where I am pretty bad at.

Agent: Name on birth certificate po?
Me: Rojan Zachary
Agent: Kindly spell and phoneticize.
Me: Okay, Rojan as in R-rooster, O-orange, J - jam, A - apple, N - nest. Then Zachary as in Z - zebra, A -apple again, C - charlie (a correct one at last!), H - hamster (I swear I wanted to kick myself already by this time), A - apple, R - rooster, Y - yoyo.

I must be thinking of Eone's alphabet books, dammit! Also imagine my struggle when I had to spell out my mega long full name. Jusko!

After the call, I immediately paid at Bayad Center (it was a Sunday) as I was told the posting will be at midnight and the 2-3 days processing starts after they receive payment.

Come Tuesday, 2Go delivered the document to me. Pretty fast! I was impressed and happy.

Then I opened the pack and found my son's birth certificate stapled with a newsprint or newsletter from NSO. To say the least, I was a dismayed. Should be no big deal as the document arrived whole and on time, but is this the way to handle an official document? They sent it to me bare and folded!

Also, the fee for this special service is Php330, and the NSO charge is only Php140. It means by availing of this service I am paying an extra Php190, but from that amount they couldn't even put my document in a proper envelope which may be worth just 50 cents?

It's great that people doesn't need to travel, fall in line and wait in order to obtain or avail of the services from select agencies. It's a welcome change. I'd say I am pretty okay with how my NSO request went, apart from the way they delivered the document which I would reiterate is a mediocre way of handling official document. They need to improve on that, really.

Their next step should be to enable filling up the request online so we don't have to call and dictate names. With all the long names we give to our kids, it's horrible. What if hindi marunong mag phoneticize? Tumbling na!

We still have a long way to go, but I am always optimistic despite having very little faith in our government. (Haha. Nakakalito ba?)


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