Here’s my first theory: corruption is caused by poor government service systems.
So it was time for my triennial renewal of driver’s license. Admittedly, I screwed up a lot of times in those 3 years. So my LTO renewal process was cut off, I had to go to MMDA to settle my differences with their traffic personnel — well, basically to pay violation fees.
My dad and I went to MMDA. (Why my dad was there is another story. Let’s just say, I miss my dad. I acted like a freshman college student who needs their parents with the enrollment).
Let’s cut to the chase: we spent 4 hours just to pay for 2 tickets — one of which is legit, another is an error they made. 4 hours. If you’re a busy man, or even if you’re not, 4 hours is just too much.
Why is this inefficiency causing corruption? Let me tell you two things why:
1. The day before, we saw the huge number of people lined up. A guy outside, apparently a fixer, told us that it will take 4 hours for us to finish the job. (He was accurate, we later found out). So, he offered “help”. He said he knew people from the inside that can work on our papers and bypass the process. For a “fee” of P1300, we’ll get our papers done in 30 mins. and we’ll go home happy. Ah, there were employees INSIDE the office that works this way, eh?
If the process inside this office is efficient, do you think fixers will exist? Do you think this crooked MMDA employees will have their way into corruption?
There’s Window #2, the process where they will check your name on the computer for your violations. It took us the whole 2 hours to wait for that. Within the first 30 minutes, the people waiting for the result swelled to a hundred — enough to start a worship service for traffic violators.
Can this part of the process be improved? I think so. If they know the volume of people that needs checking of papers, why will them employ just a couple of people on that station? (To think that these same guys are the same people that deal with fixers! Oh yeah! We saw it ourselves how they accept the papers from the “outside”.) In my assessment, if the process is efficient, you can have your papers done in less than 30 mins! No fixers, no corruption inside this office — Bayani Fernando’s former office, the same guy who says he has the political will to stop corruption. That’s another story.
2. Corruption starts on the streets too! I know this first hand — I’ve rejected it a lot of times, and honestly, sometimes I got sucked into it, too. If the apprehension is valid, the driver is tempted to bribe the apprehending officer. Sometimes, if not most of the times, though, the apprehending officer is just cocky and will apprehend motorist for the sake of the bribe. Both ways, bribing happens. Why? Because the driver knows the hustle of lining up and paying for your violation fees. The more convenient way is to bribe. And everyone, and I mean everyone inside this organization wants bribe.
If the process is simple and efficient, the motorist will just pay the violation honestly. No bribing the officers. No officers will receive the bribe. No apprehensions just for the sake of bribes. (Don’t say the Metrobank payment process is efficient. I have a 2007 ticket paid at Metrobank, and still their records show I haven’t paid it. Of course I lost the receipt already — no choice but to pay again. Imagine the hustle when you renew your LTO license and be redirected to MMDA because of their inefficient payment system?)
This office reflects most of the government offices. Imagine if every government offices will be efficient in their services? Could we say that we can eradicate corruption, at least on the ground? Let see if the new president starting 2010 can fix that.
All said and done, I’m going to LOOVVE my driver’s license from now on. I’m NOT going to give it to any cocky MMDA officers especially if I know they’re just in for the bribe. I’m always going to bring camera phones to scare them off. :D