Thursday, February 26

The quirky form

Philippines FormBefore we landed in Manila last week the Philippine Airlines flight attendant handed me a copy of the Philippines Bureau of Immigration "Disembarkation Card" (which we didn't really need because we were in transit). It was a most unusual government form because the bottom third of the declaration was a full color ad for Tanduay Rhum. Then I noticed that if you want to contact this government bureau with your immigration questions you could do so at their (!) address.

My guess is that there are some creative minds behind what at first appears pretty quirky. Unable to get appropriations to print the forms mandated by law (and necessity!) they sell advertising to pay for them. Unable to get an unresponsive bureaucracy to issue a proper government email account they do an end-run around the system and sign-up for a free hotmail account. Knowing a fair number of Filipinos (Filipinos are the largest population group on Guam) and their ability to make a little go a long way, that's my guess as to how this came about.

There are a lot of places in the world where you have to be pretty unconventional if you're going to get the job done. I suspect that the Philippines is one of them.

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