In every field of life, we cannot sit on our laurels. No matter how good we think we have done a job, there will always be room for improvement. World champion athletes, top CEOs and entrepreneurs, inventors, innovators, writers, professors, authors and performance artists are always aware that they always have to perform above par or lose out to their rivals and competitors.
It is the same with keeping our government services up to speed in meeting the needs of their clientele – the people they serve in their cities, provinces or their constituencies. These people are the reason they’re working in their respective offices. Thus, they need to ensure that their needs are met and re-think office procedures and systems to speed up service, eliminate unnecessary delaying steps and in this way, ease their own workloads. It’s a win-win proposition. Some people may be unwilling to change the present system but changing for the better will always be good for everyone in the end.
In the renewal of business permits, for instance, Dumaguete City Hall had instituted a one-stop shop service last year that lasted for the month of January where all the relevant offices needed had space and representatives all in one area – DTI, Treasury, ENRO, Pest Control, etc. This was a welcome move to those applying for renewal. They did not have to commute to the various offices located all over the city and lose so much time. This system worked well and must be continued for the succeeding years. Second, they could also make the effectivity of the permit last for three years instead of just one year. If it’s income they want to generate, they can multiply the payments by three years. It will save people so much effort, migraine from the heat and lost time. It would also save the staff the inconvenience of facing crowds of irate people come in every year applying for the same permit.
Another improvement in procedures would be to install photocopiers and scanners in every office. As it is, people have to go out, look for photocopiers in other places when the offices could have photocopiers on hand and charge the customers for the copying service. They would earn extra income along the way while answering the customers’ needs. At the Register of Deeds, for example, which is located on the third floor of a building, there are three flights of stairs and while climbing up, they find out midway that they have to go down again to have their IDs photocopied in a store somewhere before they can even request to have a copy of their lot title. Before they can claim it, they need to buy documentary stamps from the BIR, located in another part of the city. Why not sell the documentary stamps in the same office? It would save everyone the trouble. Imagine being told this while it is very hot or it’s pouring outside and you had left your umbrella at home? Such inconveniences could be avoided with just a bit of adjustment in systems and procedures of doing things.
Another suggestion to speed up procedures and boost efficiency is to require that only if the complete/full names of people are the same could they be considered a “hit” by the NBI. I know they mean well but imagine if you had a common name like “Maria” for example and about 3,000 people have the same name. You guessed it right: it’s a “hit.” And lo and behold, you have to wait 7-10 days for NBI Manila to check your name; you get interviewed by an NBI officer and you will have to present an Affidavit of Denial, notarized, to state that you are not this person charged with a crime. May I suggest that unless two people have the exact full names, including maiden and married names and the same birth dates can they state that it is a “hit.” It will save both the NBI and the people the time and trouble.
These are just a few of the services we could improve on and if we are open-minded enough to accept change for the better, it would be good for everyone concerned. Our objective is to help make Dumaguete a much better city: faster, better and more efficient service is a major part of it.