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ROUGH CUTS | Lapses in PSA’s initial activities

Vic N. Sumalinog

LAST Monday, November 30, 2020, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) started fielding its personnel in Davao City’s various barangays to give out Pre-registration Applicant Appointment Slips. It is the initial step in the implementation of the National Identification System by the government.
The move is a welcome one since the people have long been expecting that finally a national unified ID will be given to each and every citizen of the Philippines. In fact in our barangay in Talandang, Tugbok district, residents were happy since it is the service from a national government agency that is delivered right in the area. And clearly, that saves every resident money that he/she would have spent for transportation and meals if the pre-registration is done in the PSA regional, provincial or city offices; or even in district offices if the PSA has any. And for those living in our barangay to apply for pre-registration ion the city center that would have meant a cool P150 to P200.
The problem however, is that communicating instructions from the PSA to the barangay council, and from the barangay officials to the people concerned was very much wanting.
One example is the instruction that there will only be so many number of slots for one particular “purok” or village in only two hours. That is, if between 8:00 to 10 in the morning the PSA field personnel assigned in the barangay were to cater to 150 assigned slots in, say, Purok Mangga, only those pre-listed in the slots will be issued the Pre-registration Appointment Slip. Outside of that will not be entertained. The next two hours (10 a.m. to 12 noon) will be for slots coming from other puroks or sitios, and so on.
Another major lapse in the communication/instruction processes is on the age ranges for those included in the slots. It turned out that those pre-listed are all in the age range of from18 to 59 years old. In other words, senior citizens were turned down. Of course, there is not much question about excluding, at least for the time being, those whose ages range from 10 to 17. After all, they are not yet of legal age, and possibly their school ID or barangay ID will suffice.
However, many, including us, believe that what is kaput is the failure to advise barangay residents who should come to the pre-registration activity in the barangay center and who should not. And assuming that the PSA did give the correct instructions to the barangay officials, then we can only surmise that the problem lies in the communication process by the village executives to the concerned residents.
We could speak for ourselves because we lost precious time in going to the pre-registration venue only to be told that we are not in the master list and that we would not be issued the pre-registration slip because we are already a senior citizen!
Meanwhile, we were told that senior citizens have to wait until further notice, most likely sometime next year, so they would be advised what to do in connection with the national ID acquisition.
We can understand why the PSA is adopting the limited number of people to be issued the pre-registration appointment slip. We are still very much in the pandemic regime due to the deadly CoViD 19. Social distancing is still a must and that if allocation of slots is not resorted to there will definitely be convergence of a lot of people wherever the pre-registration activity is to be conducted. CoViD 19 transmission therefore is a strong possibility.
But then, again, people who are not supposed to come to the site of the pre-registration applicant appointment slip for the national ID could have been spared the trouble, even some degree of “humiliation” when told that they could not be served their purpose.
Cannot the PSA be clearer in its instruction to the barangay officials so the latter can be more accurate in communicating the intention of the former government agency?
Being messy with such important communication is one way of not helping the government in stemming the spike of CoViD 19 in Davao City.
Isn’t it that people are mandated to as much as possible, stay home; to avoid traveling? In the case of the PSA’s undertaking the issuances of pre-registration applicant appointment slip for the national ID implementation, more people are likely to go out of their respective homes to get their slip. But if they are advised beforehand that they are not in the list because of this and that reason, then the seniors like us, the teenagers, and simply those not in the master list would have not ventured out of their residences.
We suggest that the PSA should properly discuss its instructions with the officials of the barangays where they are to conduct the pre-registration so that the experience in our far-flung village could be avoided.
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