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NBI scrambles to accommodate clearance applicants

By: - Senior Reporter / @adorCDN
/ 07:10 AM January 11, 2014

CLEARANCE centers of the National Bureau of Investigation will be open today, Saturday, to accommodate more applicants and ease a backlog and longer than usual waiting period for processing,

“We’re upgrading the system. I think the operations will normalize before this month ends,” said NBI-7 assistant director Jose Doloiras.

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NBI officer-in-charge Medardo de Lemos said the agency’s clearance offices nationwide will operate Saturday like a regular working day to accommodate applicants,” he said.

More computers were added in the NBI main office in Manila to speed up the processing of clearance documents.

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At the Central Visayas regional office in Cebu City, only three computers were being used to accommodate 150 clearance applicants a day.

Applicants who signed up yesterday have to wait to be accommodated in March as the agency is swamped with thousands of applications.

Priority will be given to senior citizens, persons with disabilities, pregnant women, and those who are due to travel abroad provided they could show their tickets with the date of their departure.

“We will accommodate those who have valid reasons,” said Doloiras,

Since the start of the year, applications were being processed in the main and regional office as satellite offices and application desks in shopping malls were shut down after the contract of NBI’s outsource service provider ended Dec. 31.

Long lines of applicants form each day in NBI clearance centers nationwide. January is the start of peak season for clearance applications.

“The congestion is expected because January is peak season and satellite clearance offices have been closed. But starting Monday, some of these satellite offices will be open to the public,” Acting NBI chief De Lemos said.

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He earlier said NBI will be upgrading its computer system and run the system instead of paying P5 million a month to an outsource provider.

“The NBI clearance income [annually], which amounts to P500 million, is fully remitted to the national treasury and the P60 million we can save from having to pay a provider will go a long way for the bureau,” he said.

De Lemos gave said having the NBI run its own system would mean the “issuance of documents will be faster.”

Public inconvenience

Kris Baybayanon 20, of barangay Lahug in Cebu City, said she can’t resume her job search because potential employers ask for an NBI clearance.

“People need to get an NBI clearance now. But the NBI’s new system is so slow. It’s really disappointing,” she told CDN.

A 20-year-old man, who requested anonymity, said his work status was hanging in the balance.

“I need it so I’ll become a regular employee,” he said.

“The NBI clearance is a basic need of citizens. It’s a useful document. We can’t afford to have it delayed,” he said.

Babie Illut, 27, said she went to the NBI-7 office last Monday to get an NBI clearance. Her application was supposed to be processed in February, but a relative helped her get the clearance in one day. Her classmates who also applied for an NBI clearance, however, will be accommodated in March.

“Many are complaining. People are lining up as early as 5 a.m. outside the NBI. Some sleep there to get in line,” she said.

Flagship project

The new clearance system was internally developed as part of the flagship National Justice Information System Project.

When CDN visited the NBI-7 office past 10 a.m. yesterday, a few persons lined up to write their names on the Priority List.

Doloiras said they are still adjusting to the new system which was implemented at the start of the year.

“We usually experience difficulties when a new system is initially implemented. All we’re asking is for the public to be patient. We will eventually resume normal operations soon),” he said. /with Inquirer reports

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