Time motion processing-A A +A
Friday, October 12, 2012
THERE is policy on one hand. And then there's the actual practice. Processing passports is one traumatic experience that's almost like undergoing a root canal operation. The process is enough to fray one's nerves, between clients and the people behind the desks in perhaps the equivalent of road rage with the long lines and tons of documentary requirements.
This time, the experience was nowhere that. I went to the DFA Regional Consular Office a few days ago to help a field staffer process his passport application and renew mine. I allotted a whole day to get the job done.
The process went so fast, I ended up the whole day with so much time on my hands. As in, 55 minutes for passport application, roughly 40 minutes for the renewal.
Actually, the time spent was even quite long compared to previous practices. The time motion requirement in the electronic passport application and releasing workflow say the whole process should be done in roughly eight minutes. The new e- passport uses microchip technology that contains an integrated circuit (chip) recording the data that are essential in verifying the passport holder's identity.
These data include the personal data found on the data page of the passport, the biometrics of the passport holder, the unique chip identification number, and a digital signature to verify the authenticity of the data stored on the chip.
Biometrics is the unique and measurable physical characteristics of an individual that include face recognition, fingerprints and its scans. The Philippine Electronic Passport (or Philippine e-Passport) uses the digital image of the passport photograph that can be used with face recognition technology to verify the identity of the passport holder.
That should eventually put passport forgers out of business.
A new applicant is expected to spend two minutes in the applicant's area, 30 seconds to verify the applicant in Window 2, two-three minutes on Windows 2 and 4, pay the cashier within one-two minutes, two-three minutes encoding the applicant's data, before ending the flow.
So by its standard, nearly an hour is quite long. Of course, we have to consider the time spent lining up, and getting the required notarized documents, or getting new passport size photos for the application, with DFA changing the rules from dark blue background to white.
Two transactions the equivalent of two hours is still very good. I tried to find fault in the system, but I ended up faulting the applicants including myself, not the government. My only complaint is that compared to the old express lane that takes five days, a new or renewed passport takes nearly three weeks.
I don't know how other DFA regional consular offices pan out with their performance. But here in Bacolod, the staff is lean and mean-as in efficient, polite, young, and tech-savvy personnel. Their efficiency is the best approach to making fixers irrelevant and extinct.
Recently the Civil Service Commission (CSC-6) has already finished the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) Report Card Survey (RCS) in 27 national government agencies out of the 41 targeted this year.
The ARTA RCS gathers citizen feedback on government agencies' frontline services and compliance with the other provisions of Republic Act 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007 that includes the observance of the "No Lunch Break" policy, posting of the Citizen's Charter and setting up of the Public Assistance and Complaint's Desk.
The RCS survey involves two phases: the initial announced survey, which is done by the CSC coordinator and hired researchers; and the unannounced or surprise validation survey done by a team of validators from the CSC Central Office.
The CSC-6 report card survey also showed that 12 agencies received a good rating; three, acceptable rating; and 10 failed to comply with the standards. Will DFA-Bacolod pass muster? I hope so.
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Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 12, 2012.