Higher fees for slow computerized service

Philippine Daily Inquirer
June 28th 2011

SIGNS IN Registry of Deeds offices announce that computerized processing for the issuance Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT) is being introduced, therefore, “Please bear with us,” “Sorry for any inconvenience,” and it can take some 20 working days of best effort—meaning, no commitments—before new titles can be issued; and should there be computer glitches, like the recent one that lasted two days, nobody would know. Is this what the public will get from computerization?

Yet the fees, collected up-front, are charged in full and have increased. A big share of this fee is for IT service, presumably going to the computerization service provider, Stradcom, the same company mired in intra-corporate controversy at the Land Transportation Office.

When one is given an assessment, he can do nothing else but pay. No fee schedule is posted anywhere for the public’s information. Is the public not entitled to know the cost of the service?

And there are multiple documentary requirements asking clients to photocopy this and that; get certified true copies, with LRA keeping the original. And when one has to go to a number of Registry of Deeds offices requiring the same documents, he has to submit more original certified true copies. A fee is charged for every certified true copy, and it takes time to issue one because the computer cannot be rushed. In my my case, I was told to go back after three to five days for my copies. Shouldn’t computerization get things done faster instead of putting up roadblocks?

I understand that the transition from the old manual system to computerization requires some adjustments. I asked a friend in the real estate/property development business, who had  regular dealings with different Registry of Deeds offices, if he knew some people in the LRA. He introduced me to them. The connection helped. I submitted my documents to the Quezon City RD on May 18, 2011 and to the Caloocan City RD on May 27, 2011. On June 16, 2011, I was able to receive the new transfer certificates of title I applied for. I didn’t make any follow-up with the Caloocan RD the week I was told the document was ready. It was available when I went to get it, seemingly its processing taking a shorter period than the 20 or so working days I was told it would take. But I had some help. How about those who don’t and have only themselves to depend on.

There is need for the LRA to see how it delivers its service to the public and justify all the fees it is charging. Efficiency and transparency are the call of the day.

—DANILO S. VENIDA,
Quezon City

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