Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas cards, letters flood Legazpi City post office
By Jorge Hallare

LEGAZPI CITY, Dec. 17 (PNA) -- Amid the widespread use of social media like Facebook and various messaging apps, traditional postal services that require postage stamps for mails to be sent is enjoying a resurgence in this city, especially during the holiday season.

An official at the Legazpi City Post Office (LCPO) said they are now experiencing a "mail traffic problem" because of the huge volume of Christmas cards and letters that must be sent abroad.

“Many are still patronizing the old way of sending their messages and greetings to their loved ones, especially this yuletide season,” said Honorio Pecundo, postmaster 6 of LCPO.

He said as early as the middle of November they have been experiencing problems sending mails abroad, especially in the US and Middle East, where many Filipinos are living and working.

"In fact, we have suspended accepting mails going to the East Coast (in the US) and some parts of the Middle East where we are experiencing an extremely high volume of mails," Pecundo said.

He said LCPO has stopped accepting mails that are intended for the 14 US states in the East Coast like Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida and Cyprus and Yemen in the Middle East.

Among those who could not send her holiday greetings abroad is Amparo "Ampy" Luna, 76.

Luna, a resident of Barangay Pigcale in this city, said that three days ago, she tried to send a Christmas card through LCPO for her son, 50-year-old American national Michael Uenkingcard who is based in Virginia, but was told by LCPO that they have stopped sending mails to that US state.

Pecundo said LCPO’s counterparts in the US have been faced with lack of personnel who will deliver a big volume of mail this coming Yuletide season.

He added that they have also suspended the sending of mails to Cyprus and Yemen because of war in that part of the Middle East.

Luna said she usually prepares for the Christmas card that she would send to her son because she knows he would want to read it as many times as he would like to.

She believes a card has a more "personal touch" to it than if she were to send her holiday greetings through her cellphone or via the internet.

Luna said that her son told her he could not understand why the shipment of Christmas cards to the East Coast has been suspended.

“That's really weird and there's no reason for it," her son told her through Facebook.

Cesar Baliza, assistant post master, said they receive an average of 45,000 mails and letters on regular months while during special periods such as December they receive 60,000 mails and letters for shipment abroad.

He said they expect a similar number of mails and letters from other countries to be delivered monthly to 70 barangays in Legazpi City.

Baliza said after suffering a slump for many years due to competition posed by advanced technologies in the Internet the demand for postal services at LCPO has been seeing a significant increase this year.

He said even during the months outside of the holiday season they get “bulk volumes” of mails and letters from different government agencies, regional trial courts, Public Attorneys Office, private lawyers, commercial banks and insurance companies -- all of whom are regular clients.

Baliza cited PhilHealth as among those who contribute to their bulk volume of mails because of the PhilHealth cards they send annually to indigent members in various barangays in the city.

He said LCPO now has an average monthly income of PHP1.3 million or PHP13 to PHP14 million annually.

“There are even students who still patronize the old way of sending messages,” said Baliza.

But LCPO discovered however that majority of the letter senders do not know how to send a letter or mail properly as they are more familiar with cellphones, internet and other modern means of sending messages.

“They are confused as to where to put the name of the letter sender and receiver in the letter envelope and as to what is meant by the Zip code,” he said.

Baliza conveyed an appeal to the public, especially students and those who do not know how to fill up the face of the letter envelope, that LCPO personnel are willing to go to schools or even barangays to conduct an orientation on how to correctly do them to facilitate the sending of their greeting cards or letters to their loved ones. (PNA) JBP/GVR/JH/CBD/RSM