By Herman M. Lagon
ENCOUNTERING swift and efficient government offices feels like a breath of fresh air in a world where bureaucracy often moves at a snail-sloth pace. As citizens, we have grown accustomed to long queues, overbearing facilitators, and a frustrating lack of progress. However, amidst these challenges, I recently stumbled upon a few shining examples of exemplary public service that pleasantly surprised me.
Let me start with my 10-minute police clearance processing experience at the Iloilo City Police Station. Expecting a hot, never-ending line, I braced myself for the inevitable bureaucratic ordeal. To my astonishment, I was met with amiable and facilitating personnel who efficiently guided me through the process. The waiting area was comfortable, and my clearance was in hand before I knew it: a small victory but a testament to the positive changes that were silently taking place.
Similar experiences unfolded at the PRC in Gaisano Metro Main Branch, the Bureau of Immigration at Festive Mall, the Bureau of Quarantine and NBI at Veterans Village, the City Hall payment section, the Pag-IBIG Fund Main branch in Plazuela, the SSS in Mapa, and the GSIS in Plaza Libertad. Based on my experience, these establishments have embraced efficiency as a core principle, turning what was once a tiresome chore into a seamless and hassle-free experience. The personnel, far from being the stereotypical gruff, swanky, and blowhard bureaucrats, were friendly, professional, and genuinely eager to assist.
Acknowledging that not all government facilities have reached this efficiency level is essential. Even some of the offices I enumerated here still receive flak occasionally. But there are still many areas that require substantial improvements. I still hear horror stories, specially from folks not being treated humanely in public offices in municipalities and barangays. However, let us take a moment to celebrate these shining beacons of progress. They serve as a reminder that change is possible, even within the confines of bureaucracy.
So, what exactly has contributed to this newfound efficiency? Recent laws and innovations have played a vital role. Implementing streamlined processes, digitizing records, and integrating online services have undoubtedly reduced red tape and expedited transactions. These innovations have empowered public servants to serve the public better, fostering an environment conducive to efficiency and productivity.
Moreover, the recitation of the oath of government personnel during flag ceremonies must be noticed. This practice is a powerful reminder of the importance of public service and the duty to serve with integrity and dedication. It sets the tone for a work culture that values efficiency, professionalism, and a commitment to the welfare of the people.
While there is still a ton of work to be done with many bad eggs up to the national level as flawed precedents, it is crucial to recognize and affirm the number of government offices, big and small, that have embraced customer-centered efficiency wholeheartedly. Their dedication to providing swift and effective services deserves our praise. These public servants who have risen above the bureaucratic norms and set an example for others deserve our salute.
In a world where time is a precious commodity, where waiting almost endlessly seems to be the norm, encountering an efficient government office is like finding an oasis in the desert. So, here is to those who strive to make a difference, to those who uphold the oath they recite every day, and to a future where all public servants genuinely serve the people with a commitment to efficiency, transparency, compassion, and excellence.
Doc H fondly describes himself as a ‘student of and for life’ who, like many others, aspires to a life-giving and why-driven world that is grounded in social justice and the pursuit of happiness. His views herewith do not necessarily reflect those of the institutions he is employed or connected with.
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