The National Statistics Office (NSO) Should be Decentralized
or Just Be Tasked for Archiving of Statistical Infos
By Apolinario Villalobos
Personally, I can’t understand why somebody from the far South Cotabato, for instance, would still come to the National Statistics Office (NSO) in Manila to secure a copy of his birth certificate which is already available in the locality’s Civil Registrar’s Office. In fact, it is the local Registrar’s Office that furnishes the NSO in Manila with documents that pertain to the birth and death of a citizen. Such “crazy” idea is contrary to the effort of all other government agencies to decentralize their operations by establishing regional, provincial, city, and municipal extension offices. And, what is funny still is that there seems to be no synchronicity to the system of the NSO offices in Manila.
During a visit to the Macapagal Avenue/Roxas Boulevard NSO Office, I talked to a senior citizen who just wanted a copy of his son’s birth certificate so that he can claim the benefits after he died in Libya. His son was born in Manila in 1964. When the old man went to the NSO central office in East Avenue, he got a negative result so he was told to go to the Macapagal Avenue/Roxas Boulevard NSO office where he got another negative result. On his own, he went to the Manila City Hall and got a copy of the Birth Certificate which he showed to the Macapagal Avenue/Roxas Boulevard NSO office based on which he was made to fill up papers and told again to go to the its Central Office in East Avenue, where he was again told to go back to the Macapagal Avenue/Roxas Boulevard Office. The exasperated old man was almost at the end of his wits as he no longer knew what to do, until the staff who attended to him at the Macapagal Avenue/Roxas Boulevard Office finally told him to FILL UP A “NEGATIVE” FORM that he should show to their East Avenue Office! Imagine the trouble that the poor senior citizen went through as he was from Laguna, yet.
As its name implies, “Statistics Office”, the agency is supposed to be just a REPOSITORY of ALL statistical information available about the Philippines, including the citizens. And, requiring a citizen from the far south to get NSO documents in Manila is just incomprehensible! Why can’t the citizen just secure a required document from its ORIGINATING OFFICE, such as the LGU Registrar’s Office, instead of spending for a flight or a boat trip to Manila for it? Why must a document be “NSO-issued” when it can be issued by the Registrar’s Office of the LGU?
Also, and the worst situation is the lack of system in the issuance of documents for it seems that Manila offices are not even inter-connected despite their having computer sets. With what I already cited earlier regarding the senior citizen who was passed on between the NSO offices, it is clear that what information the central office has, cannot be accessed by the Macapagal Avenue/Roxas Boulevard Office, as there is no connection between them, otherwise, they should have not given the senior citizen a hard time in commuting. Outright, one of these offices should have given a final instruction to the senior citizen if the first attempt to retrieve the information from the “system” yielded negative result….that is, if they have a “common source”. But, clearly, there is none!
And the biggest questions now based on the story of the old man are….. why in the world, has the NSO East Avenue (central office) failed to have a copy of the Birth Certificate of the guy who was born in 1964 yet, from the NEARBY Manila City Hall? …and if something is wrong with their respective system, why let the tax payers suffer for their failure that resulted to their irresponsibility and inadequacy?