In this era of instant messages and e-mails, one cannot bear to think how anyone could still bother sending anything via the regular postal mail or what we had come to know as snail mail. Gone were the days of sending personal letters and packages via regular mails. All we ever receive from the post office are bills and notices and the occasional personal card often catches us by surprise.
This situation however is the exact opposite of postal services in other countries which are top of the line and very reliable. Thus it is no wonder that they fully trust their postal services to deliver their letters and packages to the Philippines even if they pay only for the regular mail. After all, why would they spend more for other mail services when the cheapest mail available is already trustworthy.
Trustworthy? Maybe if they were sending mails from their countries to other countries excluding the Philippines. A friend of mine from England had to find out this truth the hard way. Fully trusting the reliability of postal services, he sent us a package via regular mail, taking pains to pay the expensive charges of shipping such a small package. He was promised that we will receive it in two weeks time. But the due date came and passed and nothing reached our doorstep – not a notice or any indication that there was a package waiting for us in our small rural postal office.
Knowing how much the package and its contents were worth, my mom would not content herself with the basic explanation that the package was lost somewhere along the way in the muddy waters of Philippine postal services. So began her personal quest to trace her package despite warnings that in the Philippine scheme of things, tracing unregistered mails and packages are futile. And it seems ours wasn’t an isolated case. Reading the online registry of the Philippine post office, we found out that a lot of people from all over the country had complaints of never receiving a package supposedly sent to them from countries like England, US and Japan. Most of these packages contained important items that are none the less valuable. Our friend in England was appalled at what he read. He had no idea Filipinos could be so corrupt as to even tamper with the mails and packages of others.
But my mom would not be dissuaded with her cause. Having made inquiries with the local town post office as well as the nearby city post office, she finally pleaded her case with the Postmaster General at the National Post Office. At this point, we were not really expecting that we would receive the package but the least we could do was to raise the awareness about this glaring Philippine problem that nobody seems to be addressing.
All hope was not lost however because in less than a month, investigations already began. And lo and behold we found out that our package actually arrived at the local post office – within two weeks time. And the problem? The local postmaster admitted she was negligent in not checking with the official forms that indeed the package arrives. So there it was the form which tracked regular mails in our country. And we were informed that such a form did not exist.
The long and short of it was that my mom did not push through with her complaint for to do so would mean the loss of jobs of the people involved. And she did not want that. We never received the package – somebody already took it but the incident served its purpose. Hopefully the postal services, in our town at least, would be a bit better than before – mails arriving on time and packages finding their way to its rightful owner.
We may not be a rich and well-developed country where people completely enjoy the benefits their taxes entails them, but what we lack in resources we must make up with integrity. We have made our mark in the world as having some of the best natural wonders and the worst cases of corruption but we can change the latter – even if just small scale. All it takes is for us to be aware of the circumstances around us and to be vigilant enough to care about them. There may be a lot of anomalies in our system but it does not mean that we can do nothing about it. After all, we are Filipinos, this is the Philippines and we have the full capacity to turn our country around – even if its just one post office at a time.