The teacher who traveled 2,000 km to get his Red Book

I assume that worse-off families would give up on getting their papers done as it was simply too annoying. Such a simple dossier already took me 20 round trips, I wonder how the poor would manage to pull it off?

Vietnam has implemented various efforts to reform administrative procedures for citizens. Nevertheless, there still exist places where people are discouraged by the exhaustion and costliness of the process. In Ta Rut commune, Dakrong district, Quang Tri province, there was a teacher who had spent over one and a half years to register for his Red Book (the land use right certificate (LURC)) and only managed to get it after reporting the case to the M-Score project’s hotline and the Quang Tri PPC.

In May 2015, teacher Nguyen Hong Son voluntarily donated 16m2 of his land to building new roads in the community. After the donation, the length of his remaining parcel of land was too short. Therefore, in April 2018, teacher Son purchased a land lot from a nearby family to build his own house. He went to the OSS in Dakrong district to register for a LURC. An official at the land registration office of Dakrong district promised to re-measure his parcel of land, yet no appointment paper was given to him. After going back and forth for a couple more times, teacher Son remained unsure about when he would receive a LURC.

“They just promised me that they would come to measure the land but did not let me know a specific date. They said they would come next week, then the week after, and so on. I have no clue when they would actually come.”

According to teacher Son, an official from the land registration office in Dakrong district had kept promising to arrange a meeting multiple times, yet no appointment was scheduled. Later, Son knew from another official that his documents would be processed after 2018’s Tet holiday. However, as of May 2019, the procedure for Mr. Son’s LURC remained unfinished. He reckoned that as he had to travel 100 km each time to get to the district office, and after 20 back and forth trips, the total distance has mounted up to 2000 km. Still, he had not managed to get his Red Book.

With disappointment, he continued: “It was incomprehensible. I felt discontented with such working attitude. I assume that worse-off families would give up on getting their papers done as it was simply too annoying. Such a simple dossier already took me 20 round trips, I wonder how the poor would manage to pull it off?”

Upon learning about the hotline of M-Score project, he reached out to it to report his own case. In one of the phone calls, he said: “The land management office told me once that they would return my dossier in the afternoon, but then they told me that I lacked some documents. The process kept being delayed. They said they would come to measure the land next week, then postponed it to the week after. I’ve been calling them for the last few weeks and now they don’t even pick up their phones anymore. There's nothing I can do about it.”

Responding to Mr. Son’s feedback, on May 17, 2019, the Standing Committee of the Quang Tri PPC sent a written request to the land registration office of Dakrong district to resolve the case once and for all. After that, the branch of the land registration office of Dakrong district sent a report to the Standing Committee of the Quang Tri PPC to explain some of the land registration procedures in Mr. Nguyen’s case. The Standing Committee of the Quang Tri PPC continued to send another written direction to the office, requesting this unit to provide the citizen with clear guidance and to soon submit the completion report.

November 01, 2019 became a memorable day for Mr. Son. The teacher went from Ta Rut commune to the Dakrong district’s one-stop shop to receive his LURC. He said that, after knowing that the Standing Committee of the Quang Tri PPC urged the settlement, he could finally stop counting the number of kilometers he had to travel. The arduous journey to get his Red Book finally completed, Mr. Son smiled in relief.