"To monitor service quality, a survey needs to be undertaken which should also include those of health, education, social protection, housing, and disaster response."
The Duterte Administration is keen to improve the quality of government services. I became a senior in November last year, and my change in status led to many service interactions with government agencies involving the issuance of certificates. My experiences with the DFA, NBI, NSO, SSS, and two LGUs provide an indication of how well government agencies are performing.
In general, the agencies I visited performed satisfactorily. Queues were long but were well managed. Seniors, pregnant women, and persons with disabilities were prioritized. Staff were generally courteous and helpful. Procedures were well specified and displayed in large-format tarpaulins. The cities of Lapu-lapu and Pasay even had guides who helped citizens navigate their complex offices.
However, there remain areas that need improvement. The NBI website was so busy that it often got overloaded, making it impossible to enter data online at home. So I went to NBI HQ and was greeted with online service providers using smartphones doing brisk business. The “No Noon Break” policy is practiced in most offices, but not in all. Many SSS service staff in the Diliman branch were not on their desks for the one-hour break. The multiple ID requirements varied among government agencies and is a hassle.
Most of the video sets in all offices I visited were not turned on to provide information. The link between payment and service receipt is still disruptive. Photocopying facilities were outsourced to private providers outside buildings at the risk of documents getting wet in the rain. The office layouts were generally not well designed, and some buildings were not built for large crowds. In the Quezon City Office for Senior Citizen Affairs, people had to stand outdoors. Dispensing machines were not available for food, beverages, and other necessities.
Large crowds also indicate demand outstripping these agencies’ capacity to provide services. Government should consider putting up more service outlets or informing people where other alternative offices are located. To monitor service quality, a survey needs to be undertaken which should also include those of health, education, social protection, housing, and disaster response.