I went to our Manila local government (Barangay) office today to renew my Barangay ID. I need to have one so I could get all other valid IDs. I wasted about 15 minutes waiting for the ID section photographer and while I was waiting, I was thinking that this lowly clerk had to have clout to be late for the first day of office this new year. I finally asked a secretary why I have to wait for this ‘Jerome’ but before I finished my question, the secretary asked me to fill up a form. She probably felt guilty.
After submitting the form, she checked my status on her computer. Then she told me I have to get a police clearance first because I wasn’t a registered voter. I thought ‘here we go again’. If the secretary didn’t speak politely, I was ready to make a scene. While on my way out, I saw a childhood friend who is now a local councilor. He was chatting with someone. I went to the nearest police station to get the clearance and as I suspected, I was told I need a Barangay ID to get their clearance and gave me the hint to use a backer. This Catch 21 has happened before between a bank and our Barangay. I went back to the Barangay office hoping that my councilor friend was still there.
He was inside the office when I arrived. Now I was hoping for serendipity. I approached him, explained my dilemma, and asked him for help. I told him ‘Why would I register for voting when my name is always missing from the voter’s list on election days?’. Someone overheard heard us and said a Barangay Clearance would do. I was tempted to ask him why all the others didn’t tell me that but restrained myself. My friend approached the section head and vouched for my residence legitimacy. He also told the secretary to approve my ID. I thanked him before he left.
In retrospect, I was only glad I won against government persecution of passive activism. And that my friend proved once again that serendipity exists.