Expect delays in NBI clearances

[ ] July 2-3, 2011

THE NBI on Friday warned applicants to expect a delay in the processing of their clearances after Mega Data Corp., the company that had been running the bureau’s computerized clearance processing system for the past 30 years, pulled out its software and hardware when its contract expired on June 30.

But Gerry Perdido, head of the National Bureau of Investigation’s Office of the Deputy Director for Technical Services, said officials would do their best to shorten any delays in the processing of NBI clearances.

“We will use our staff to replace the system, but we will not revert to the manual system because it will cause so much inconvenience to the public,” Perdido said.

“The NBI clearance is a vital need.”

The NBI releases about 22,000 clearances daily with help from its computers.

But Mega’s contract expired without being renewed after the Justice Department’s Separate Bids and Awards Committee failed to come up with the terms of reference required for bidding out a new contract for the service in October 2009.

NBI Director Magtanggol Gatdula had earlier said five firms joined the bidding: V.G. Roxas and Co Inc., Mega Data Corp., Total Information Management, Systems and Plan Integrator and Development Corp., and Data Trail Corp. But he said the Awards Committee issued a resolution on Sept. 27 last year declaring a failure of bidding.

Mega had been providing the NBI various computers, data capture, image capture and card production equipment and supplies to serve the bureau’s data-processing needs.

In a media advisory released yesterday, however, deputy director for Technical Services Rey Esmeralda said the bureau would be using a different system.

“We ask the public to bear with us during the transition state of our operations,” Esmeralda said.

He said applications for clearances would again be entertained on July 4 after the bureau stopped accepting them Friday. Macon Ramos-Araneta