Today's Punto
Today's Punto
When they do serve
By Bong Lacson

Mar 08, 2018

QUICK ARE we to rage, to rant at even the slightest shortcoming, the flimsiest failing, be it only perceived rather than real, of people in government.

Yeah, we have this sense of entitlement to but the best from the bureaucracy, given that they are public servants: their salary, we, the taxpayers, pay.

With the standard – if lousiest can ever be in any standard of measurement – of public service, we go to government offices for official transactions with the proverbial chip on our shoulder, ready to pounce on the incompetence, if not corruption, we know most surely will unfold. Any time. Every time.

As they – the faults and failings – indeed do in most cases. And, when taken to the social media, magnifi ed a thousandfold.

Inhered in expectation of the worst, we fail to recognize the good. Yes, there are still government workers, agencies that do serve the public well. As I learned from personal experience as plain citizen, devoid of any title but “senior,” in two instances. My passport was expiring in July this year, so I went to the Department of Foreign Affairs Consular Office at Robinsons Starmills in the City of San Fernando last January for its renewal.

Without any pre-arranged appointment, I prepared myself for the worst – the long queue that turns and twists about the entrance to the DFA offices, maybe, even to be told to come back for an appointment in three months’ time.

Surprise, surprise, the process was all a breeze – waiting, submitting renewal form, payment, photo – taking but 30 minutes.

Just about the only hassle was my crossing over to SM City Pampanga to have my old passport photocopied, as the queue to the only Xeroxing stall at Robinsons was thrice longer than that to the DFA.

Return, did I after 10 days to get my new passport with already a 10-year validity. Swell, DFA. So, it helped that I am a senior citizen. Still, I am grateful. And that’s straight from the heart.

In February, my driver’s license was expiring. Alas, of all times, offline was the Land Transportation Office-Angeles City, my go-to license renewal spot with the ever-efficient, ever-charming Ms Aida Santiago as chief.

Resigned to endure the long lines and dreading the much-publicized no-plastic-cardonly- paper-receipt-for-two-years sorry excuse for a license, I trooped to the LTO at the government center in Maimpis, CSF.

I raised the senior citizen card and it got me instant renewal form to accomplish, nothing else.

Posted conspicuously by the numbered windows where all can see LTO people in different phases of work was the processing timeline of one hour.

Aha, take a minute over and I will go to town in my next column damning LTO inefficiency. So, I timed the whole process.

Fifty-seven minutes past, I was signing for my five-year-valid driver’s license – in plastic! No boredom in the waiting, as I got engrossed in the NBA game on the television screens at the lounge.

The LTO is one agency that has long served as poster boy for government inefficiency, imbecility, and corruption. My experience here has restored my faith in the agency in particular, in the government bureaucracy in general.

When they do serve, government workers can really serve well. Thank you.

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