Still More Reasons to be Late

Republic Act 10535 - Philippine Standard Time. Photo by UNTV

By: Sherwin M. Cesar

The passage of Republic Act 10535 setting the Philippine Standard Time (PST) and institutionalizing the first week of the year as the National Time Consciousness Week has been eliciting praises from online, print, and broadcast media. Some even remarked that "Filipino time" may become a thing of the past.

Signed by President Benigno Aquino III last May 15, 2013, the Act mandates all national and local government offices to display Philippine Standard Time on their official time devices, following the official time provided by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). Such offices are further directed to synchronize their official time pieces with PAGASA at least once every month.

The thing is, since time immemorial, PST has already been instituted. What's new then? Given that PAGASA equipment and system of maintaining and disseminating the Philippine Standard Time would be commendable, will the newly-signed law help eradicate the so-called "Filipino time?" Definitely NO! First and foremost, "Filipino Time" is NOT a technical problem; it should not be taken literally. It has a deeper, shameful, embarrassing meaning; it pertains to ones negative attitude with respect to time management, time consciousness, or sense of punctuality.

We Filipinos are known for our creativeness. Even when hardly pushed against the wall, we can always create ways or reasons to escape. As if we have tons of reasons loaded in our pockets. Being late in the workplace or to an appointment for example, is no big deal. We can always create "palusot" when the need arises—traffic, illness, kid's school activities, doctor's visit, and a thousand more.

Time synchronization then, will not, in any manner, change the deeply-rooted Filipino attitude. Thus, "Filipino time" can or will never be a thing of the past unless Juan's disposition and attitude with respect to time will change (of course for the better) in the future. Otherwise, there are still thousands of reasons to be late.

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