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Law on Philippine Standard Time.

Manila President Benigno Aquino III has signed the law that seeks to promote a culture of time consciousness among Filipinos and synchronizes the functions of government through a single time reference.

Deputy Presidential Spokeswoman Abigail Valte said Aquino has signed Republic Act (RA) 10535, which sets the Philippines Standard Time (PST) and provides penalties for government agencies and broadcast stations reporting the wrong time.

"All government offices, agencies, instrumentalities, bureaus, shall now coordinate with the PAGASA official time pieces and devices," Valte said in a Palace press briefing.

PAGASA stands for the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration as the official timekeeper. The agency will maintain and disseminate the PST using its network time protocol.

The new law consolidates a measure earlier filed separately by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago and Senator Edgardo Angara.

"Filipinos are notorious for their tardiness such that being late has become synonymous to aACAyFilipino time.' A definite time reference would remove inefficiencies brought about by different interpretations of time, particularly among government offices," Defensor-Santiago said.

The lady Senator said the measure intends to promote a culture of time consciousness and punctuality through the institutionalisation of the "National Time Consciousness Week" which will be marked every first week of the year.

Defensor-Santiago said having a single time reference is important in the conduct of government as well as private transactions,

"Discrepancies in time between government agencies have led to unnecessary friction brought about by the disparate interpretation of schedules and their observance," she said.

"By having a unified time reference system, government will be able to provide more efficient services by ensuring that their offices open and close at the same time. All citizens will benefit from this as they can now expect punctuality in the government workforce, especially in service-based agencies," the senator explained

Under the new law, all government agencies as well as television and radio station must follow the PST in providing regular time checks.

"It has been a perennial problem for citizens to get the most out of government services because government offices allegedly close earlier than office hours. A government office should therefore appoint one person responsible to oversee the monitoring and adjusting of time in addition to his regular duties. The official time keeper could be administratively charged under the civil service rules for negligence if he fails to carry out his duty in accordance with the law," Santiago said.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:May 24, 2013
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