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PHL Standard Time to counter 'Filipino time' starting June 1

May 25, 2013 7:40pm
Can a law create a new time consciousness among more lax Pinoys accustomed to making others wait? Only time will tell.

Starting June 1, there will be one less excuse for “Filipino time” – which is synonymous with tardiness – as public clocks must be set to Philippine Standard Time following a new law signed by President Aquino on May 15. Government offices must follow, and media are required to comply as well in their displays and announcements of the time.

The impact will show if just a law was required to address what has been known as a timeless cultural trait, perhaps rooted in the rural practice of timing activities according to the position of the sun, rather than the face of a watch.

The already punctual can hope that the new law heralds a rise in meetings and events that start on time. Less time wasted overall can result in greater efficiency and productivity.

The synchronized time called PST will be determined by PAGASA through a rubidium clock, according to a report on "24 Oras" by Julius Segovia on Friday.

The clock then transmits the PST to the network time protocol server which displays it on the internet and the PAGASA website.

For PAGASA and other departments under the Department of Science and Technology, however, the PST is not a new thing.

According to Mario Raymundo, chief of PAGASA's Astronomical Observation and Time Unit, the PST has long been displayed on its website. Other DOST offices have also been following it, but not all do the same.

“Noon pa man meron na kaming display sa aming website at sa lahat ng mga sangay ng DOST, subalit ang tao ay hindi basta-basta sumusunod sapagkat ang sinasabing 'Filipino time' ay may negative connotation,” Raymundo said.

“(Ang RA 10535) ay magsisilbing ngipin para sumunod ang mga mamamayang Pilipino,” he added.

The prominent clock tower in the Manila City Hall has also been following PST.

“Halos lahat ng tao 'pag napadaan dito nakatingala sa orasan. [Sanay] na rin dito ang mga Manileño [na] itong tower clock na ang pinaka-orasan nila,” said Rogelio Botona, the maintenance operator of the tower clock.

According to a sociologist interviewed in the report, the roots of “Filipino time” can be traced back to Spanish colonial era.

“Noong panahon ng Kastila kasi ang Pilipino minsan inuutusan nila o pinakikiusapan na dumating na late. Talagang sinasabihan sila ma-late sila," explained Bro. Clifford Sorita.

"Gusto kasi ng mga matataas sa lipunan noong na mauna muna yung mga guest,” he said.

PAGASA's rubidium clock bases its time on the Australian standard time, that is why Raymundo expressed hopes for more funding so that the Philippines can say that it has its own time source.

With the PST law, a budget will be allocated for equipment that will display PST in strategic locations for the benefit of the public.

“Kung halimbawa ang isang mamamayan ay gusto niyang malaman ang tamang oras ay magbukas lang ng TV at makikita na niya [ang PST],” Raymundo said in the report.

The government also asked support from the private sector to help display the PST.

The law also imposes a fine of up to P50,000 on owners of private television and radio stations who "shall fail to calibrate and synchronize their time devices" with the PST. Andrei Medina, Gian C. Geronimo /LBG/HS, GMA News

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