I’m running some errands for my dad and part of the requirements is getting my NBI and Police clearance. Although the added layer of challenge is to get this in record time when most office spaces are empty, and waiting in line in a government office makes it dreadful (Example number 1: MRT-3 limits train deployment as 186 train personnel test positive for COVID-19).
But since work from home has been just long work in the past five months, I found this as a good break and breather to step out, wear a PPE, and run an errand like an amazing race in between Zoom calls.
How did it go?
I was pleasantly surprised that I got my Police and NBI clearance smoother than expected.
Just within five hours for a Police clearance from my online booking. And just one week for NBI clearance from payment to pick-up.
I still don’t understand why they are in different systems and application process but this post is to share my experience and curating the resources you need to get it
I’ll link down a detailed video per permit but here are common steps:
1. REGISTER AND CREATE AN ACCOUNT ONLINE:
Woops, as of this writing, https://pnpclearance.ph/ is down. IDK why!
Here’s a deep dive into steps. You can skip the videos if you’re not applying anytime soon.
PNP Police Clearance:
2. SELECT THE NEAREST CENTER, SET A SCHEDULE, AND PAY ONLINE. In one of the options, there was an option to pay via QR code PesoNet. I was expecting it to crash but was delighted that my QR scanner payment from my Unionbank mobile app went well and I was able to pay in less than 5 minutes. Yay for cross-banking solutions!
4. SHOW UP, LINE UP, GET VERIFIED (PHOTO AND BIOMETRICS), AND WAIT. For PNP police clearance, a schedule was available within the same morning window. I selected the same morning schedule and I was inside the clearance room in just one hour. They will always ask if you’ve paid online and then guide you to the next door right after confirming.
But for NBI Clearance, the closest schedule was in one month! I still went ahead to the nearest NBI Clearance center, told them I already paid but scheduled in a few weeks, and to my surprise, just nodded and said I should just line up.
I guess the NBI clearance online schedule got filled early but because of the slow reopening of offices, the prior schedule got canceled anyway so I got accommodated.
At this point, I have to highlight that payments were contactless which was convenient but also anti-corruption-friendly.
Instead of government employees making non-verbal expressions that you need a “pampadulas,” you get assisted by public servants on PPE and wants to focus on efficiency on workflow line management and have you sent your way outside the room as early as possible. This is far from my past experience inside LTO or BIR offices.
4. WAIT AND CLARIFY.
The verification is dependent on your name and if you have a “hit.” Since my name was unique enough, I didn’t have someone’s issue tied up to my name. Yay! For PNP, it took about ten minutes to get cleared until my photo and clearance was already printing.
For NBI, they handed me a piece of paper asking to go back after a week to have my clearance released and printed.
5. DONE! Don’t forget to HD scan right away for easy copy in the future.
I had low expectations with government online process but these experiences oddly didn’t disappoint. With a pandemic forcing contactless scheduling and payments, my NBI and Police clearance was a breath of fresh air. Aside from faster transactions, it also promotes transparency since you appear on schedule and not through “under the table” express schedules.
The next challenge becomes Inclusion. As I conveniently wait for my Grab from the police station, two walk-in applicants politely asked how to get a police clearance and were shooed away with “Online appointment muna, bawal na walk-in!”
The second stranger was a young profesional carrying a plastic envelope looking like a job applicant. He walked away checking his mobile phone and probably Googling the requirements. He’ll likely be back soon after paying via options like 7-11.
While the other applicant seems to be a normal Tatay in slippers who might need a police clearance for work or as an ID. He’s less techy and probably feels “quietly dumb” and frustrated for not being aware how to register online. He walked away bowing down and didn’t bother asking what’s next. Does he need to go to a computer shop? Can his kid help him instead to look for the online process? Should he resort to a fixer instead? It did look like “online” was more out of reach and complicated for him.
While these platforms are now MANDATED TO BE ONLINE and is extremely helpful for digital natives, I was reminded that it can also be daunting for those might be applying online for the first time. Another layer of complexity and not convience is if they have no bank account or any smartphone to get an e-wallet.
These are some of the minorities and users that we have to still consider both for access, contextual guidance as they go through the process, and confidence that they can access the tool within the rent window they paid for. We need to mindful in designing such systems so that these online process for government clearances can be exciting for them, too.