Endless queues plague NSO

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Saturday, May 10, 2014


FOR several years, endless queues have plagued the National Statistics Office in northern Mindanao. 

These long queues become terrible when the new academic year is approaching since schools require birth certificates from students.

To ensure they get priority numbers, applicants take refuge on the sidewalk from the office until the highway using cartons and 'malong' to take cover from the cold. 

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Almae Garciano, 23, from Malaybalay, Bukidnon applied for her NSO-authenticated marriage and birth certificates for her passport application since she plans to work in Kuwait.

Garciano met Lucylyn Borbon, 33, who hails from Valencia City on Thursday night.

Like Garciano, Borbon is also in need of her security papers for her lost passport. She wishes to fly to Singapore and try her luck there. 

They met that night, sharing the same story of their lives. They lay down on the street with their bags as pillows and scarves as blankets. 

"We have no choice but to wait here. The fee for processing these papers in our place is expensive, as they double the price. Sometimes, it will take a week for it to get processed," Borbon said.

There were also applicants from the city who were having problems in getting their NSO security papers.

Cesar Leroy, who is a resident from Barangay Lapasan, told Sun*Star Cagayan de Oro that there are minors from the nearby neighborhood who get paid to line up for applicants who will only come in the morning. 

"There are kids who sell their 'spots' to these new applicants for a P100. They do this for those applicants who do not want to line up overnight," Leroy said.

"You can see these children playing in the night and go back to the line if they feel tired and sleepy. By morning, they will secretly sell their spots to the incoming applicants. That is very unfair to us who stood in line and [have to bear] all the mosquitoes and night bug bites," he added.

There are also other business establishments that have offered services to process security papers from NSO in northern Mindanao. 

Hemisphere Travel and Tours (HTT) in Barangay Carmen said it can accommodate 100 people a day with one-day processing only. It charges P250 for birth, death and marriage certificates and P350 for certificate of no marriage. But with the rotational brownout, it will take them two days to process. 

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro tried to get the NSO's side but failed since its acting regional director, Marilou Igdon (as name posted on its website), was on a meeting. Its information officer was not also available according to an NSO staff.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 10, 2014.

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