The City Government of Baguio has introduced the Online Public Assistance and Complaints Desk (OPACD), a user-friendly web platform enabling citizens to submit inquiries, complaints, and suggestions. With a focus on meeting the demands and concerns of Baguio constituents and visitors, this system streamlines communication between citizens and the local government. Public Assistance and Complaints Desk (PACD) officers promptly evaluate and respond to submissions through the system or by forwarding them to the relevant department representatives. By automating PACD operations and expanding its reach, more citizens can conveniently engage with the local government.
Before the OPACD implementation, citizens of Baguio City had to channel their complaints through the Presidential Complaint Center and the Civil Service Commission’s Contact Center ng Bayan. Since these platforms cater to complaints nationwide, resolution time takes longer since these have to be transferred to various offices and departments. Additionally, social media became ineffective in sending feedback to the local government, often directing messages to inappropriate agencies or unauthorized personnel. Even for simple queries, citizens had to physically visit Baguio City Hall to manually fill out the feedback form, causing inconvenience for the public and the government. Furthermore, tracking and monitoring client satisfaction or complaints proved challenging due to manual tallying processes.
Developed by the City Management Information and Technology Division (MITD) and introduced in 2018, the OPACD serves as an online communication platform, establishing a Citizen Relationship Management (CRM) system for public relations services. Its primary objective is to enhance public service communication through internet-based web technology, enabling Baguio constituents to connect with frontline City Government services anywhere and anytime. Localizing the feedback system allows citizens to communicate directly and efficiently with the City Government of Baguio.
The OPACD process:
- Citizens submit their queries and concerns through the system.
- PACD officers receive and evaluate the submissions, either responding directly or forwarding them to the respective department representatives or administrative officers.
- Department representatives are given 72 hours to address the forwarded citizen queries or concerns. This complies with the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) policy requiring government agencies to answer complaints within 72 hours as part of efforts to improve the delivery of public services. If the concerned department fails to respond within 72 hours, the PACD officer will follow up on the transaction status or send a letter addressed to that department.
The OPACD offers functional features, including:
- Tracking and monitoring: Citizens can monitor the status of their concerns, queries, or feedback through the system.
- Real-time notifications: Citizens receive transaction status updates via email or the system.
- Forwarding capabilities: The PACD officer can forward the inquiry to concerned department representatives or administrative officers for resolution.
- Access to message or feedback history: The PACD officer can review the transaction history through the system.
- Option to attach and upload files: Citizens submitting inquiries can upload supporting files and documents through the system. This means the concerned department representatives do not need to review a pile of papers to check the submissions.
Productivity Gains, Outcomes, and Impact
From 2018 to June 2023, the OPACD handled 7,797 transactions, with 7,342 closed transactions. Based on Baguio City PACD data, the OPACD demonstrates a compliance and resolution rate of 100%, with 92.19% of issues resolved within 72 hours.
|The OPACD website shows the total number of transactions since 2018.||Responsible Department|
|Birth Certificate, Marriage License||Registry Office|
|Vaccination Card/Certificate||City Health Services Office|
|Payment of Real Property Tax||City Treasury Office|
|Number Coding||Baguio City Police Office|
Notable impacts of the OPACD:
- Improved Communication: The system bridges the gap between citizens and the City Government of Baguio, enabling seamless communication regardless of location or time.
- Automation: OPACD eliminates manual information extraction and preparation of response letters, streamlining processes for PACD officers.
- Enhanced Service: The City Government of Baguio can stay informed and respond promptly to the needs of registered users. The OPACD addresses the challenge of lengthy response time when sending complaints through other platforms, which takes weeks or months for issues to get resolved.
- Report Generation: Easier consolidation of reports supports top management-level decision-making.
Atty. Augustin P. Laban III, head of the City Human Resource Management Office, emphasized the value of receiving feedback directly from the public, allowing the government to gain insights from the customers’ perspective and improve internal processes effectively.
In addition to its regular functions, the OPACD proved to be particularly invaluable during the peak of the pandemic.
Administrative Officer Shara Mae Garlitos and PACD Officer Janine Bengao observed a significant surge in OPACD usage throughout the pandemic. Users, including tourists and locals, relied on the system to obtain information about checkpoints, report COVID-19 cases, and seek assistance regarding lockdown restrictions.
As highlighted by Atty. Laban, the OPACD played a crucial role in supporting and assisting many individuals, both within and outside the boundaries of Baguio City. Its availability and effectiveness during challenging times brought relief and facilitated the smooth dissemination of vital information.
Lessons Learned and Challenges in Implementing the Intervention
Since implementing the OPACD, the City Government of Baguio has integrated various feedback platforms, including SMS messaging, online messaging, email, and telephone. However, despite the success of automating the processes, challenges persist, such as effectively assessing and screening complaints and comments. System glitches also occasionally occur, but the MITD promptly handles these.
PACD reports are regularly forwarded to the City Mayor and all other departments for review every six months to ensure the effectiveness of the feedback channels, promote accountability for raised issues, and facilitate discussions to drive better decision-making.
Atty. Laban highlighted how the OPACD instilled a continuous improvement mindset among Baguio City officials and staff, emphasizing the importance of acting on every concern.
“I can see that they are mindful that every concern must be acted upon. We need the mindset to improve continuously and not to be stagnant. That is the best result of the OPACD.”Atty. Augustin P. Laban III
Document from the City Government of Baguio. 2018. Digital Cities eGOV Awards for LGU.