Flying is Indeed Faster than Driving: A Comparison of My Experiences with LTO and DFA Local Offices

I have been quite busy the last few days processing some important documents. Tuesday, I went to Land Transportation Office (LTO) to renew both my vehicle permit and driving license. Both are expired already for some months now and I had just found the time (and will) to renew them. Wednesday, I went to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Regional Consular Office to apply for a passport. Just getting myself ready for anything; there might be some good opportunities to come anytime and it would be better to prepare for them. And days prior to that, I was kind of lazy and apprehensive of doing them since my past experiences with processing documents in a government office were never easy at all. I guess many will empathize with me if I say that there is so much inefficiency in a government office. I’m not being critical, but that is honestly how I feel and observe.

Miracles of miracles! The two offices performed so well during my visits. I was able to renew both my license and permit at LTO in least than two hours, and to process my passport application at DFA for less than forty minutes. Amazing! I was really expecting a whole day transaction. Base on the figures of time I presented, DFA was somehow faster than LTO. Well, here is how I compare their performance.

SYSTEM. Both offices have adopted efficient system. They gave priority numbers to people and everyone just have to wait for their numbers to be called before they are entertained. Unlike LTO, DFA has really followed that number scheme. If the “number” that precedes you is already being accommodated, you are sure to follow. In LTO, there seems to be a lot of mix-up. During Step 2, some people who were just following me in Step 1 have only gone ahead of me. As the procedures move on, some guys are already way ahead. That slightly pisses me off!

PLACE. Waiting for your number to be called at DFA is no hassle. You just have to wait seating on some good monoblock chairs inside an air-conditioned room. In LTO, it is quite different. Yes, the waiting area is large and is an open space, but not all fans are working and the stench of nearby restroom is not very attractive at all. Somehow, there are so many people waiting so you got to talk to a lot of them.

PRESENCE OF FIXERS. Both offices have signs bewaring people of fixers. In DFA, I feel they are following what they preach. The guard was accommodating, instructing us what to do, and giving us priority numbers right away. In LTO, I feel different. The moment I stepped into the area, a “uniformed man” approached me  and asked me of what my transaction would be. I said to renew my license and almost immediately, he called another person. Possibly a fixer to work out my papers and other stuffs. Instinctively, I took out my requirements (medical certificate and drug test results) to show I was almost done, and the mood somehow changed. He dismissed the other man and he pointed me to another office. I obliged and went to that office. Well, I got through it all, by myself.

PERSONNEL. Base on how fast they did their job, I say DFA is somehow more efficient. Its staffs are mostly young, maybe most in their twenties and early thirties. In LTO, personnel are at late thirties or in their forties. On age alone, the young would be expected to be faster in manual and clerical jobs, especially the encoding part. To add to that, DFA people somehow manage to put smile on their faces despite their job. Really beautiful people! LOL

NATURE OF WORK. In fairness with LTO, they have more transactions per day than DFA. They got to entertain hundreds of people each day dealing with different problems regarding transportation. In DFA, though their job is much more complicated, they limit only their customers to a certain number for each morning and afternoon session.

My comparison might have been more biased in favor to DFA. It is, for I was actually more satisfied with them. But LTO also did so well. I can say that both offices have managed to make their jobs more efficient, and to make people happier with their performance.

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