My NBI Clearance Application Horror Story

NBI Clearance is a document that one must present during the time of application for employment. I’ve applied for this in the past, some three years ago, at Victory Mall Monumento. It was such a hassle back then, because Monumento was really far from me, and when you get there, the lines were incredibly long. The process takes forever. A year after that, I needed a more recent NBI Clearance for hospital employment, and found that it was very easy to renew my NBI Clearance. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said anymore at our present time because there are no renewals of NBI Clearance since the Biometrics component has been established in the process. So every time you need a new clearance, you have to apply for a new one. Doesn’t make sense, right?

So I was told that Robinsons Otis was the place to go for shorter lines when applying for an NBI Clearance. It’s not very accessible, too, which makes sense why my friend suggested that I go there instead of Robinsons Galleria or any other NBI Outlets. It was a Friday, the only day I was free last week to process my application. Incidentally, it was also Quiapo Day, when the traffic in the area is bad, and every taxi is not without a passenger. One FX, one bus, and one taxi ride after, I finally got to my destination: Robinsons Otis.

11 AM : The NBI Clearance Outlet at Robinsons Otis is located on the second floor of the mall. From afar, I already saw the line, and the sign which says, “Step 1: Payment”. Since I came prepared with an already filled-up Clearance Application Form and knew that once filled up, you may already pay, I took my place in line. I thought to myself, “It was just as my friend said! The line is so short!” And that was until I noticed that on the other side of the line, there was a whole group of people, seated, waiting for their turn in line to pay. I sheepishly got out of the line, and stood at the back of the waiting area, with my conscience not letting me get away with what I just did.

I stood there for like thirty minutes, the line not moving at all. There were empty seats when a whole row would be allowed by the guard to proceed to Step 1: Payment, but the people who were standing weren’t allowed to take their seats on the empty chairs. I got pissed and ask Kuya Guard why he wasn’t assisting us or even just telling us to take the empty seats. He said that those in the Payment Area would come back for their seats after paying, and if we took their seats, they would have nowhere to sit. I understood that without difficulty, but what I could not understand was how some people, who came after us, got seated immediately, without being told by Kuya Guard that those seats were for those in line, paying? And I was also chatting with someone who was standing near me in line, who was confused by the process. Apparently, like me, she went straight to the Payment counter, without having to get in the long line, but unlike me, she was able to pay for the clearance. See, some can cut in line and get away with it, without being reprimanded by Kuya Guard, simply because the system was inefficient AND ineffective.

So finally, when the front row people were told that they can proceed to Step 2, which was Encoding, we finally were able to take a seat at the back row. Every time the front row got vacated, the rest of the people would just move and take a seat on the row in front of them. Basta, the process was so confusing, I can’t even explain it clearly. Anyway, after twenty minutes, the people on our row was told by Kuya Guard that we can proceed to Step 1: Payment. Finally.

The Step 1 line inched pretty slowly. I was getting so unnerved by the fact that I was supposed to be in Makati by 11,  but here I am, 12:15 on my watch, with still more to go through, for the sake of this clearance. It was great that the person next to me in line was really friendly. Her name is Veron, and we talked about work, and insurance, and other things. It helped kill time, and before I knew it, I was in front of the Payment counter.

When I handed my Clearance Application Form, neatly and completely filled up, together with my 500-peso bill to the man behind the counter, I was taken aback when he said, “Asan yung form mo? Hindi yan yung tamang form.” How can he tell me that, when I printed the form from their website? And comparing the form I printed to the form Kuya Guard has been giving out, it was exactly the same. The only difference was that the logo on my form was printed in color, while the form they were providing was printed in light blue ink. I told him, “Kuya, ito yung form sa website nyo. Parehong-pareho yan sa form na binibigay nyo.” to which he replied, “Hindi, iba yan, kumuha ka ng bagong form, maupo ka muna tapos fill-upan mo muna.” I was aghast. Almost an hour in line, and you’re telling me that the form you uploaded on your website SHOULD NOT be used? You’re telling me, Kuya, to get back in line?

So fine, I got out of line and looked for Kuya Guard so that I can get that damn form. I just wanted to get it over with. I couldn’t get back  to my seat because I haven’t paid. Five minutes, ten minutes, twenty minutes just standing there feeling stupid, I couldn’t find Kuya Guard anywhere. Finally, I just lost it, and went back to the Payment Counter and asked the man behind the counter, “Kuya, nawawala yung guard. Saan ako kukuha nung form?” To which he replied, “Ah sandali lang ha, kakain lang kami.” WOW. Incredible.

I was so exhausted from the commute, and after an hour in line, you’re telling me to wait until you finish eating lunch, before I can get hold of the form, so that I can fill it up, and get back at the end of the line? I knew I was going to cry at the injustice of it all, so I left and decided to try another day.

I couldn’t accept the fact that this happens everyday, and that they are not thinking of ways to make the system more efficient and less confusing. I couldn’t stomach the fact that their biggest sorry excuse is, “Eh gobyerno yan eh.” This is the kind of government office we have, my dear countrymen. This is where our taxes go. Is it not corruption when these people stop trying to make the system better, simply because the system has made their minds stagnant and bound by routine? – Hana

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