Online provider of PSA docs laments abrupt contract termination

Pilipinas Teleserv, the company behind PSAHelpline.ph, has stopped accepting online and telephone applications from the public last January 4 after being told by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) that its contract has been cancelled.  

Photo shows Pilipina Teleserve founder and managing director Jun Yupitun (left) and director Raffy David

Pilipinas Teleserv founder and managing director Jun Yupitun said in an interview with Newsbytes.PH that they were surprised to receive a letter last Dec. 20, 2019 from PSA chief Dennis S. Mapa informing them of the termination of the contract.

In the letter, Mapa said the reason for the service termination was the 0.5-percent annual complaint rate of PSAHelpline.ph consisting of 51 cases that were recorded through PSA’s Hotline 8888.

Yupitun, however, is confused as “to the real reason for the termination” since half of the percentage complaint rate was statistically negligible. “There was no remedy offered — just outright termination — after 20 years of service under different administrations and PSA heads,” Yupitun said.

PSAHelpline.ph, which was launched in the year 2000 as NSOHelpline.com, was conceived by Pilipinas Teleserv to address the need for an alternative way of getting vital government documents from the PSA, then known as the National Statistics Office (NSO).

Before the launch of its innovative service, it took hours or even days just to request for PSA-issued documents such as certificates on birth, marriage, death, and singleness. Pilipinas Teleserv put up an online system that spared the public the hassle of having to line up the whole day in a cramped government office.

According to Yupitun, two days before they received the termination letter, they were in talks with Mapa’s assistants on how to improve their current service delivery performance. There was no indication, he said, that Mapa was discontented with their service.

As Jan. 4 approached, Yupitun said they even sent two letters to Mapa requesting for a meeting with him, with the goal of getting clarification on the issue. Mapa, who also serves as the country’s national statistician and civil registrar general, did not heed the request.

As PSA has ceased accepting applications made through PSAHelpline, the company was left with no choice but to refund their customers, said Yupitun.

The sudden service halt, he said, has resulted in numerous reactions on the company’s social media pages, expressing support and recalling how smooth the transactions were, as well as hoping that PSA would recall its decision.

“Our service is still relevant and there’s a strong clamor for us to stay online and deliver a world-class service that Filipinos deserve,” Yupitun said. “As to the real reason for the termination, we’re clueless aside from being told that it is due to numerous and various complaints. That’s all we got.”

Yupitun said Pilipinas Teleserv is currently consulting its lawyers to determine whether or not PSA had the right to arbitrarily rescind the service contract. He said it was Mapa alone who decided on the matter and that other PSA officials may have not been aware of his actions.

“We’ve maintained our service offering at a very high level. But, now we’ve been unduly terminated,” he said. “I will exert all efforts to find out why this happened. We would make an appeal, if necessary.”

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