Friday, January 29, 2016

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Open Letter to Philippine Embassy in Singapore

Dear Consul

Image Source: http://www.newcastle-hospitals.org.uk

In an effort to improve service, I would like to recommend the following (if they are already in place then implementation isnt in place because I saw the issues myself).

1.  Office hours. Please consider to be open on lunch time and on weekends. Unlike other embassies, ours have a mix of FDWs and office employees.

2. Staff scheduling. Please consider shifting so that the above can be accomodated. Even financial banks do this. To ensure service is not disrupted. If not enough staff is available for shifting then please consider increasing staff. The number of Filipino in Singapore is growing. 

3. Queue system.  Surely we can afford an automated queue system? The staff at the gate can be use to alleviate the number 2 issue (number of staff for shifting)?

4. Information counter. The queue system is disrupted because the people are not sure where to go. In ICA, they have counter just for information concerns. This will make the embassy more efficient. People will be happier. Queue will not be disrupted for answering  simple concerns. 

5. Website improvement. The site surely is outdated. The requirements are not clear. Some of the processes can be automated to reduce need to going to the embassy. Consider single sign on. Consider making site more secure. Consider integrating with credit card/nets to pay online.

6. OEC appointment.  I appreciate its online booking. But payment can only be done through dragonpay. Its almost impossible for those in SG. It defeats purpose of being called online when you cannot actually complete the process online. How about the FDWs? 

7. Call centre. It's so difficult to call the embassy because there's no number to remember. Please acquire one number and do the magic. Press 1, press 2, press 1million. Whatever. Just do it. 

8. Email address.  I said this years ago. I'll say it again. The embassy needs to maintain dignity. Come on. I have a domain. I pay $10 annually. Surely the embassy can afford its own domain. Have the person on the info counter manage answering emails. Redirecting them to the correct person if required.

9. No appointment counter. I know it's the internet era but we cannot assume everyone have internet. Going to embassy is already 1 day off or leave. This is because of issue numbers 7 and 8. To be told to come back again for appointment is pure... Uh... Sorry. Stupid? Come on be considerate. Inform the person without appointment that it will be longer wait. But don't send them home empty handed.

10. Payment system. Please refer to my earlier post on my experience on getting my FDW OWWA. Surely we can integrate payment to just one queue rather than 3-4? A decent computerized with serial number receipt would also be appreciated than a handwritten one that even taxis produce better receipt?

11. OWWA membership. My FDW deserves better than a small paper saying she's OWWA member? Renewal should be allowed online too rather than being new member. No ID? No handbook to tell her of benefits? MOM at least bothers to check her health and send newsletters. 

12. Forms. I would print few copies of forms and put it in the proposed info counter. People can get it if they need. Rather than be smirked by the embassy staff for asking for it. It was not in the requirements list but was required. 

13. Feedback corner. Put a box in the proposed info counter. 

14. Accept credit cards/NETS/cheque. Come one be considate! The embassy is sonfar. 
The website is not clear. We don't walk around with tons of money.

15. Cost of service. I think $42.50 is expensive for notary but it's fine. But don't you think we should have discount of sorts for another copy of the same document? Come on. Its a rip off.

16. Staff training. A little less of the arrogance and sarcasm would go a long way. They should also avoid giving the 'you should know this already' look. We don't know. That's why we need your help. 

Note, I got these from a few interactions with the Embassy. What more for those who really always need the Embassy?

By the way, thank you:
- for the improved waiting time
- for the photocopying service
- for the vendo machine
- for the clean toilet
- for the special queue for infants

For your consideration please.

Thank you.

Ps
I came to pickup the forms today and what do you know. I needed to have 2 queue numbers! This is clearly the reason why the queues are very long because there's no segregation of tasks! And thenjncle putside gave me just one queue wasting my time again. Im worried that the windows are closing in 10min and i'm still 12 numbers away because of the wrong queue!
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