Last year I ordered several books from Amazon. Some of the books were second hand college text books and the sellers of these text books do not do international shipping. So I asked my friend who lives in the United States if I could have it shipped to her address and then she will just ship it to my Philippine address. I asked her to ship it via USPS. (United States Parcel Services) I would have preferred the she ship it via private courier considering that PHILPOST (Philippine Postal Service) will be the one to receive it if it is shipped by USPS and it is known to everyone in the Philippines that PHILPOST is so slow when it comes to delivering mails and packages. But since I ordered more than 15 books and some of these books are quite heavy, I opted to have it shipped via USPS as it was much more cheaper. Besides, I was not in a hurry to receive it.
On August 17, 2013 my friend sent the package. I was accustomed to the slowness of Philpost services so I figured out that I will probably be sent a notice to pick up the package in the office 3 months later.
By November 2013 since I have not received a single notice from Philpost, I went to their main office in Cebu city. The person in the counter told me that for packages I have to go to the warehouse at the back.
A guard greeted me and asked if I was claiming a package and if I had the tracking number for it. I was quite amused and delighted that PHILPOST already has a tracking number. This means that Filipinos can now track the status of their packages through the internet. I told him I forgot to ask the tracking number from my friend so he just asked for my name and the address to which the package was shipped to. He checked a computer terminal and after a few minutes told me that the package is not in Cebu and is probably still in Manila.
I was not surprised at all as I was already anticipating this considering that Philpost is notorious for delayed deliveries. By mid December, there was no notice whatsoever from PHILPOST about my package so I decided to browse the internet and search for their website in order that I can find an email address so that I can inform PHILPOST Manila office about my problem. True enough in their website, there was a section there wherein you can track your packages. I clicked on “Contact” signed an online form and sent my message.
January 2014 came and I got no response whatsoever from PHILPOST. So I asked the tracking number from my friend. Since she lost the receipt, she went to the USPS and asked for it. After several days she emailed it to me. I immediately inputed the tracking number in the PHILPOST website. According to the website. The packaged was sent from the U.S.A on August 17, 2013 and arrived in the Philippines on August 26, 2013. The last update of the PHILPOST website was that it was “En route to delivery office” by August 31, 2013. That confirmed my theory that the package was stuck in Manila.
Somebody told me that I should contact the post master general about this problem. So by February 7, 2014 since I still received no notice or any response form PHILPOST I sent this email to the post Master general:
“Ms. Maria Josefina M. Dela Cruz
Office of the Postmaster General
Dear Ms. Dela Cruz,
I bring to your attention a package that was sent to me from the United States which I have not received until now. The packaged was sent from the United States last August 17, 2013. By November of 2013, since I still have not received it, I went to the Philpost main office in Cebu and inquired if it has arrived there. The personnel there told me that they could not find it in their computers and that it must be in Manila. I asked the tracking number from my friend who sent the package and she give it to, it is _________
After checking with the Philpost website the last activity there was 8/31/02013 and it says “Enroute to delivery office”
By December 2013, sent a message through your website raising my concern. But until now, I have not received a response from your personnel.
The package contains nothing of value that requires for it to go through a lot of customs brouhaha. It only contains books and most of them are even used.
It only took From the United States to the Philpost 9 days for the package to arrive from the United States. It’s been more than 5 months now and the package has not yet arrived in Cebu. Manila and Cebu couldn’t be that far compared to the United States and Manila. No wonder the recent news banner story of the Philippine Daily Inquirer contains the story that a U.S lawyer says that our Philippine Mailing system sucks. (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/575202/ph-mailing-system-sucks-says-us-lawyer) Being the country’s post master general, I hope you could look into this and improve things at PHILPOST.
Here are details about the package: ________
Hoping for your prompt action regarding my package.”
I expected the reply from the post master general’s office to be as delayed as the arrival of my package, but to my surprise 2 hours after I sent the email. (And mind you that was sent on Saturday evening at 8 p.m.) I received the following response:
“Dear Atty. Diaz:
This is to acknowledge your receipt of your email regarding your package sent from the US.
First of all thank you for bringing this concern to our attention.
We have forwarded your complaint to the concerned department and we shall update you once we received the information.
We will not let incidents like this go unnoticed and we will do everything
we can to reach a fair and just resolution.
Lastly, we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. PHLPost is committed
to render effective and efficient service. Anything that goes against this
commitment is something that needs to be addressed urgently.
Thank you for your kind understanding.
Myrachelle Gay Tolosa Santos
Chief of Staff
Office of the Postmaster General”
I was quite amazed and impressed at the quickness of the response. By Monday (2 days after I sent the email) I received the package and it was personally delivered to me at my office by somebody from PHILPOST Cebu.
Days later, the one who delivered my package visited me in my office. She apologized profusely to me. She said she is not making any excuse and admitted that the mistake falls on her on the basis of command responsibility and that she just wanted to explain what might have happened. She explained that the post man assigned to our office address sent two notices and it was received by somebody from our office. I told her that I never received any notice and I told her if this was the case, one of the guards probably received it. Unfortunately we changed guards last December 2013 so I could not call the attention of the guard who probably received it. Since they do not have a copy of who receives notices for packages (unlike registered mail) she does not know who received the notices for me.
I told her that there are two possibilities for this. The first possibility is that the notice was received by the guard and the guard did not give it to me. (Philpost sends out three notices if I am not mistaken, informing the recipient to pick up the package from the post office) The second possibility is that the post man failed to do his job and that he never delivered any notice to our office at all.
A counter argument to these possibilities is as follows, our guards always give us our mails and I have not known any instance wherein they have not done so. The Philpost personnel said that it is unlikely that the post man assigned to our area will not deliver any notice to me since he has a good record and so far there are no complaints against him. I do not know anymore which is anymore. I just suggested to her that perhaps PHILPOST should improve its system and that it should come up with a system to determine if a notice is delivered and that another team should make a followup, a sort of check and balance system.
She told me she has not been getting any sleep lately because of this problem and that she had been receiving calls from Manila as she is being questioned what has happened to this particular package. Instead of getting mad, somehow I felt pity for her. I told her, it was nothing personal. All the while I thought the package was still in Manila and all the while I thought the delay was in the Manila office, when in reality it was the Cebu office that was really causing the problem. I told her not to worry about it, that I accept her apologies and that I will send an email to the post master general about commending her actions of apologizing to me and for personally delivering my package.
In the end it was truly a learning experience for the local PHILPOST personnel in Cebu and the entire Philippine Postal Service Office. Hopefully they would be able to install a better system to solve the delays in the delivery of our mails and packages.
I also commend the PHILPOST local personnel for humbly accepting her mistakes, apologizing for it and taking full responsibility. Above all my hats off to Myrachelle Gay Tolosa Santos, Chief of staff of the PHILPOST post master general for her prompt response regarding this matter and I only wish that the entire Philippine Postal Service Corporation will be as efficient as her.