I work in a company where it is required to get an NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) clearance every year. You know, probably just to make sure that the employees have not turned into criminals in the past 12 months. Haha! But seriously, it is a good policy. It is one's best interest to work in a safe, secure place with law-abiding colleagues.
I have been with the company for six years and I have secured this requirement easily at Glorietta Park Square. It usually takes about 5-10 minutes without breaking any sweat. Now, that time of year came by and I thought it was just going to be a breeze, but no. The game has changed, I heard. I got horror stories from my co-workers who got their clearances before me. The Park Square satellite office has closed. The operation is now mostly at Robinson’s Malls. There are no quick renewals anymore. Everyone has to get new clearances. I turned to the internet for information where I can get mine. You may check HERE for the list.
I did not even know that there was a Robinson's Otis. I live just 10 minutes away from the mall and I just found out that it has been there for four years now. In my research, I surmise that this is not a real- deal mall since they only have about 20 stores and restaurants altogether.
My 1st attempt: August 20, Saturday, 7:00 AM – I came from my shift and I just wanted to check out the scene; I was not really sure if I can get the clearance that day. The horror stories proved to be true. The mall is still closed but there is already a long line outside. I decided to go home first and come back later when the mall opens. Unfortunately, I fell asleep and I woke up at 5:00 PM. Well, at least I now know the exact location of the mall.
My 2nd attempt: August 22, Monday, 9:45 AM – I was able to get to the second floor and see again the long queue. I had no idea where to go first or what is the first step. The lady there said to come back early tomorrow since they have already reached their quota, which are 500 people. Oh, I see. That explains why my co-worker lined up at 4:00 AM in Robinson’s Galleria. I suppose I should have come earlier. Anyway, I got to take a picture of this for our reference.
My 3rd attempt: August 25, Thursday, 7:40 AM - I need to get my clearance today! I am mentally and physically prepared for this. Whatever it takes. Bring it on!
They will allow people to come in at 8:00 AM. I refused to go very early because I did not want to wait outside the mall for a long time. I believe Robinson’s Otis is less busy than Robinson’s Galleria or Place. So I was confident that I would belong in the first 500 headcount even if I do not line up at dawn.
We got to the end of this snake-like line and assessed the size of the crowd. I figured I am number 400. They do not give out numbers here. It is first come, first served policy. When the doors opened, the crowd still kept their place in the line intact. Everyone was orderly and organized. I liked the discipline. No one tried to run ahead of the others. I heard that in Robinson’s Place, it is similar to the Amazing Race when the mall opens.
A security guard will hand out the form, everyone should still be in line while the crowd is led to an empty store space on the second floor. This shot is blurry, I apologize. I cannot lose my place in the queue!
You then have to find a way to fill out the form. No tables or chairs here. Here are some of the ways.
Here I am. My way.
And the waiting at this forsaken space took about 3 hours. The line moved at an agonizing pace. Your patience, perseverance and stamina will be truly brought to a test.
I am not good at standing up for a long time so I did not care about plopping myself in this cement floor.
Finally, we came to the point where we can be led to the actual NBI clearance processing area. At last, we will now be able to feel the air conditioning. Of course, it is still a long way to the counter.
After another hour of waiting in line, we finally got to approach the counter. Yahoo!
The fees for the clearance are as follows:
It is about time we get to the first step!
So this is the reason for all the waiting! There is only one person processing on each of the four steps! Where is the manpower?
After paying the fee, you again have to wait to get to step 2. At least, this time, you can sit in a chair. I was happily anxious at this point. I can almost smell the ink on my clearance.
This is where they put in the information that I wrote on the form. You have to check the monitor for any typing errors.
This is something new in the NBI clearance process. After the fingerprints are taken, the photo is next. You may have to squat a little to fit in the view of the web cam. This amused me.
At this point, the line was moving faster because another encoder arrived. Two people are now processing at Step 2. Why just now?!
Another bad photo taken. I did not want to be in the way of others.
Finally, the last step.
It took about 5 minutes to wait for the clearance to be released. You have to wait for your name to be called. If you have a “hit”, they will stamp a date on your receipt when you need to come back. A “hit” usually occurs if your name is common name or if you have a “Sr./Jr.” It may also mean that you have a record with breaking the law or a person who has the same name as yours did.
Good thing my name is not so common.
After 5 and a half hours, tada!!! I survived the challenge!
Some tips and reminders:
- Go on a rainy day. Fewer people might go in bad weather
- If you have a small, foldable chair, bring it
- Bring a pen
- Bring a fan for relief from the heat and humidity. Remember, no air-con outside the mall and not until the mall hours
- Bring water and some snacks. Keep in mind that the stores in the mall only open at 10:00 AM
- Go with someone who needs to get the clearance too. This way, you will have someone to save your place in the line if you need to go to the bathroom or buy something
- Bring music, games or books to pass the time and survive boredom
- Be patient and be ready for the challenge.
Hopefully, the process will improve by the time I need my clearance again.
Until then, good luck and stay positive!
1536 Paz M Guanzon St.
831 Zone 90, Paco
Fax : +632-396-8026
NBI Website: http://www.nbi.gov.ph/