SARABURI — Local officials in the rural district of Don Phut, Saraburi, came under fire Wednesday after they posted photos of themselves carrying a bedridden elderly woman to a district office to issue her with an ID card – instead of making one for her at home.
The saga was told through an album of 34 photos posted by Don Phut District Office, in what was meant to be a positive publicity campaign for the officials. Chumrun Sachat, 85, is said to have been carried out of her home by district chief Puttipong Suriyasing himself on Tuesday afternoon.
“Citizens’ IDs are an important document of identification. Don Phut District gives importance to citizens in the area,” the post said, accompanied by photos of men carrying Chumrun to a car, putting her in a wheelchair, taking her photo and fingerprint, and carrying her back to her home in a stretcher.
Chumrun is paralyzed in half of her body and has not gone out of her house for 16 years, the post says. She lives alone, and is unable to climb down from the stairs of her own residence. She had lost her old ID long ago.
Local officials also registered her for the “We Win” government handout, since Chumrun does not own a smartphone.
But the post, which has been shared more than 5,000 times, was soon attacked by users who criticized the officials for not bringing equipment to make the ID cards to her home and make her life much less difficult.
The backlash was so damning that the district office removed the post by Wednesday afternoon.
“Wouldn’t it be easier to send officers to her home? Why do you have to make easy things so difficult?” wrote Facebook user Chonlakan Chaiphanukiat. “Moving her like this could even be a danger to her.”
“Well, you got your photo op to send to your boss,” wrote user Piyanat Kantee under a photo of an official giving a thumbs up with Chumrum and her new card.
It’s not even a revolutionary idea either – the Department of Interior Affairs has been deploying mobile ID card teams for years now. Residents who require the service can simply call the 1548 hotline to request for a unit to be sent to their home.
“This is convenient. It’s hard for me to go to the district office,” Chanchai Suwannaplang of Prachinburi said in a government video from 2017 promoting the mobile card making program.
According to the 2019 census, Don Phut district has a population of 6,737.