8888 hotline exceeded target calls received by 269% but abandoned over 792K callers
MANILA, Philippines — The government’s 8888 hotline intended for complaints on government services have exceeded its target for calls attended by 269 percent, but did not mention that it abandoned over 792,000 calls, the Commission on Audit (COA) pointed out on Thursday.
In its performance audit of the Office of the President (OP) for 2019, COA noted that the 8888 Citizens’ Complaint Center expected to attend to 240,000 calls in the previous years, but actually managed to answer 646,658 complaints.
This meant that they exceeded their targets by 269.44 percent. But COA said that over 792,685 calls were either abandoned while in queue, or did not make it from interactive voice response (IVRs) to actual responding individuals or call takers (CTs).
“The figure does not include the 792,685 calls abandoned in queue and those processed only in IVR that did not push through speaking with the CT,” COA said in their report.
“These complaints and requests were duly forwarded by the Center to the concerned agency and a 2nd endorsements were made to those which did not respond after the lapse of 72 hours,” it added.
Furthermore, COA also stressed that the Complaint Center has yet to operate other channels where citizens could voice out their concerns over government services and alleged red-tape practices.
There are five channels that should have been utilized, including the 8888 hotline. But it seems that only the hotline was operational, while other forms of messaging — short message services or text messages, electronic mailing, website messages, and social media accounts — are non-existent.
This shortcoming, COA said, makes it falsely appear that the Center has been overly effective in carrying out its mandate.
“With 646,658 processed calls and referrals, including follow-ups thereto, it would seem that the Center is effective in eradicating red tape/corruption in the government,” COA said.
“However, it could have been more effective, if the other communication channels, provided for under Section 5(a) of EO No. 6, were operationalized to receive complaints and requests,” it stressed.
In response, the Center claimed that other forms of messaging are being rolled out, with the text services starting its partial operations.
The 8888 hotline is one of two key hotlines initiated under President Rodrigo Duterte’s term, the other being the 911 emergency rescue hotline. The 8888 hotline is part of the administration’s drive against corruption and red-tape allegations within the bureaucracy, allowing affected citizens to report complaints realtime.
However, the complaint hotlines have also received complaints, from accessibility issues to unresponsive lines.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.