Who would have thought that procuring birth certificates could be an exercise of stewardship (of time and money) and faith?
I was (and still am) on a quest – to complete my requirements for teaching in UP this June. They asked for an NSO certified birth certificate, but I had only one copy left. So I decided to pay a visit to NSO East Avenue’s Serbilis (eng. “fast-service”) Center.
My previous certificate was obtained through their home delivery service, which means no lining up, but one had to pay 330 pesos for a copy. If you lined up, they will only charge you 125 per copy, plus a 15 peso document stamp, for a total of 140 pesos per copy. The difference was 190 pesos per copy, and I wanted to order three so that I wouldn’t have to come back there within the next 5 to 10 years (unless I get married, perhaps). I was therefore left with two options:
- Pay 990 pesos at the bank and wait for the certificates to be delivered
- Queue up and pay 420 pesos, and come back for the certificates later within the day.
Obviously, I had more time than money in my hands, and 570 pesos is a big thing! While just about every Filipino is dissatisfied with the Government, I decided to exercise faith. They wouldn’t be calling it Serbilis if it didn’t live up to its name, right?
The windows officially open at 7am, and I arrived just a few minutes before. Lo and behold, the queue already resembled that of a 1st generation Nokia snake high-scorer. It actually took me 3 minutes to be able to trace the line. The line started moving at around 7:20am, but I was shocked at their pace: we were moving at a rate of more than one foot per second! When we came to the desk where they gave us our number, I was shocked to see that mine was 643. They started from 001.
I already wanted to bail out and reconsider the door-to-door service, but convinced myself to wait a little more. Their system was fairly efficient, from the numbers, number batching, and checking. They had more than 40 payment counters operating simultaneously. I was already queued up to pay by 8:45am. By 10 minutes past 9am, I was walking out of the building with my claim stub for 12nn, so I decided to go and finish some errands first (doing the math: given they started a bit late, they could probably finish 400 persons per hour or 3600 persons in a 7am-4pm shift).
I came back past my time slot and was horrified to see the long queue in the claim area. Thankfully, I was able to ask the guard, who looked at my stub and let me in without having to line up (they practiced FIFO, I presume). All in all, I spent just 2 hours and 15 minutes, and saved 570 pesos.
Thumbs up, NSO!
- Don’t hesitate to ask the authorities, they know what they are saying.
- Obey the authorities, they know what they are doing
- Don’t rely on people on the line, they are equally clueless and sometimes are just pretending to be know-it-alls.
- If we can trust and exercise faith when it comes to earthly authorities, how much more can we trust the heavenly authority – God and his Word?