My Idea for LGUs: Online Village Sticker Administration

Every year small to large villages called barangays, villages or LGUs (Local Government Units) all over the Philippines issue annually renewed stickers to the public allowing entry into their villages. Tenants pay a regular fee while non – tenants are charged more for the privilege, a common practice for villages used as shortcuts for drivers to skip traffic or are home to schools or offices that non tenants need to visit.

Annual renewal is an arduous process especially for larger villages and the process is akin to car registration renewal – yet another one of the many annoying things car owners have to go through. I always thought IT could help so here’s a web based facility that may automate the process:

Sign Up and fill up a Profile

Here is the sign up process:

  1. Tenant or Not?
  2. Business or Individual?
  3. Full name / Company / Organization Name
  4. Date of Birth
  5. Address
  6. Gender
  7. Mobile / Telephone Number
  8. Government ID (Driver’s License, Passport, etc.); or DTI / Mayor’s Permit

Vehicle information

  1. Plate Number(s) of each vehicle they are submitting for a sticker. This may also serve as the Unique User Identification Number.
  2. Types and description of all vehicles they are submitting for a sticker.
    1. Make
    2. Model
    3. Type
    4. Color
    5. MV File (Optional)
    6. Vehicle Picture
    7. Public / Private / Commercial vehicle
  3. Is registered owner of vehicle(s) similar to name on application? 1
    1. If Yes, proceed
    2. If No, provide details on vehicle Official Registration (OR) *
    3. OR Number

     

Process:

  1. Applicant signs up to the website providing an email address which doubles as their username and a password.
  2. Applicant fills up the required fields and upon completion is told to wait x days for approval to be received via both email and sms.
  3. Upon submission, the website administrator will privately see the application on a list of applications for approval. There can now be two scenarios:
    1. Renewal – If there was a previous manual list of registered vehicles a website admin can check an applicant against it and approve it based on that. Once approved, the applicant will be notified via email and/or SMS. Applicant can login again and pay the registration fee online or pay it by going to admin office or courier. Stickers can also be arranged to be sent to applicant via a messenger – a mostly easy task because they are all living within the village.
    2. New Application – If not on a previous list, the admin will provide a schedule (subject to negotiation) when applicant can come to the office and have the sticker attached and also pay if he hasn’t done so already.

PLENTY of Advantages:

Allows Online Payment -This is potentially the biggest draw for the tenants, and is way overdue when paying for any government service. Allowing online payment will limit if not eliminate queues automatically increasing efficiency resulting in higher collection.

No Need to Visit Admin Office – As long as the database is updated annually visits to the Admin office to renew stickers will not be necessary.

Security – Sending stickers via messenger or courier to the address listed on the application confirms that the applicant is an actual tenant. Sending SMS via the mobile number listed on the application helps determine a convenient way to communicate with tenants and drivers for broadcasting traffic announcements. We’ve only just scratched the surface as far as what security benefits will be gained. It’s safe to say there are just too many to mention at this point. I’ll just try to mention them as I talk about each topic.

Databases are great for research – A database per se automatically makes studying volumes of information much easier. Need to know how many vehicles are in the village of a certain type? How many are fleets? How many are for hire? Trucks vs. cars? How many are tenants and non – tenants? What is the difference year to year? All this information which would usually take days to compile become instant on a database.

Extending Information – A database of car owners will help in creating a resident database, a property database, a non resident database, a database of public jeepneys and tricycles that work in the village and others. Extending the data to create other databases allows you to cross – reference shared data. This in turn adds even more security as it confirms data from several fronts. For example the listed address for a village registered vehicle should normally be the same for the owner of the vehicle. This may not necessarily be a security issue but the inconsistency may be noted.

Extending to Devices – I can think of two systems. First, a QR code can be placed on the vehicle stickers allowing quick and easy reading by barcode readers strategically placed on village gates. This system is straightforward and would probably be cheap, however it will not be able to record non – tenant vehicles obviously because non tenants do not have stickers.

There are however new types of CCTV cameras that employ high resolution and optical character recognition (OCR) allowing systems to READ license plates with a high degree of accuracy. This has been enabled further by the new clean black over white license plate designs which helps readability from afar. Coupled with the database the entrance and exits of a vehicle can now be recorded with far more reliability and accuracy than could ever be possible with security personnel and logbooks. It should also allow quicker access in and out of villages as security guards will not have to look at each one as they drive by.

There is even potential profit to be earned here as the LGU Admin can offer real time access to the entrance and exit times of specific vehicles for a fee. The system can send an SMS or even email the picture of a vehicle with a specific QR code or license plate when it passes the village gates. Schools and parents can keep track of the whereabouts of school buses while companies can track delivery vehicles.

Sharing information – Tenants as stakeholders deserve the right to access this data. All of this can be easily and dynamically displayed in real time either in a limited or verbose scope via the village website. This is an important way to help tenants understand how much traffic goes through their streets and if it would be wise to invest in bicycle or pedestrian lanes as an alternative (which frankly, I hope to be the case). Police and emergency services can obviously make use of this information as well.

In Conclusion

A system like this should not cost above P150 – P300k especially if delivering just the membership system, which would essentially be the most basic version. Prices would ramp up depending on for example allowing mobile access or more features in general.

But what I think I want to address most in describing systems like these is that these are in no way ‘high tech’ anymore. I didn’t describe anything above that doesn’t already exist and in fact has been in active use for quite some time already. Department store Point Of Sales systems are equal to if not far more complex yet we use them everyday.

What is new is contradicting the popular mindset that technology should only be in the corporate realm, or at least in big industry. I want to introduce the thinking that technology isn’t only for the offices in the business district but should also be utilized for the small residential villages and barangays. There is no real barrier to implementing these things other than stretching one’s mind beyond accepted norms. Even money isn’t an issue as we all know small barangays have appropriate budgets plus technology keeps making itself more and more affordable everyday.

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