I really do not look forward to doing transactions with government offices – paying taxes, filing ITRs, getting public documents, registering vehicles. Philippine government offices (most of them anyway) seem to have never heard of the term “customer service”, as taxpayers are made to queue for long hours and follow the long red tape.
This justifies why I waited until March was almost over to renew my car registration (teehee!). I dread going to the main office of LTO on East Avenue, because it’s always crowded and fixers proliferate.
So I went to the La Loma District Office instead, where I also registered last year. As usual, fixers in the guise of parking attendants volunteered to “istensil” my engine. I just ignored them and walked up to the inspector’s table at the LTO building instead.
The service surprised me. Immediately, the inspector signalled to a man in brown shirt with “Inspector Aide” printed at the back, first name printed on the upper left side in front. The aide quickly stenciled my car’s engine and assisted me in filling up forms. I was whisked away for my TPL (third-party liability; hub forgot to get my car comprehensive insurance) insurance (no need to wait long for an insurance quote), which came in less than 10 minutes. Next my car was lined up for emission testing. And soon after, my documents were flying to another window for processing already.
The longest part was waiting for my name to be called at the cashier’s window. But, all in all, the whole process took one hour and thirty minutes only!
Here are some tips to make sure your transaction at LTO goes smoothly:
1. Bring all necessary documents: photocopies of your vehicle’s OR and CR, original copy of CR just in case they ask for verification of the photocopy (NEVER surrender the original CR to anyone), and Certificate of Cover for insurance.
2. Do not transact with fixers or persons outside the LTO. As soon as you park, people will come offering help and assistance. This can only get you in trouble.
3. Go directly to one of the inspectors seated upfront the office.
4. Going early does not always guarantee that there will be less people (I went in at 1:45 PM, kinda late already). It probably depends on the office and the volume of work. Aside from the La Loma district office, the San Juan district office along Aurora Blvd. seems pretty relaxed too.
While I was there, I saw several persons who appear to be fixers hanging around and doing multiple transactions. Oh well. This is the sad part with our culture: some people think their time is more important than others’, so they choose the services of fixers to expedite rather than do the transactions themselves.
The thing is, the system is trying its best to work. And it actually is starting to work. Let’s help it by not going through fixers.
Then maybe we can help fix the red tape in our government offices.