MANILA — President Benigno Aquino III has signed into law a consolidated bill setting the Philippine Standard Time (PST) and institutionalizing the first week of the year as the “National Time Consciousness Week.”
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, in a press briefing on Thursday, said Aquino signed last May 15 Republic Act 10535 or “An Act to set the Philippine Standard Time in All Official Sources throughout the country, to provide funds for the installation, operation and maintenance of synchronized time devices to be displayed in key public places and to declare the first week of every year as National Time Consciousness Week.”
The new law otherwise known as The Philippine Standard Time (PST) Act of 2013 is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 3284 and House Bill No. 164 that was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on February 4, 2013.
The Act mandates all national and local government offices to display Philippine Standard Time on their official time devices, including bundy clocks, in accordance with the official time provided by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) using its network time protocol.
All of these offices shall coordinate, at least once a month, with the PAGASA to synchronize their official timepieces and devices.
The PAGASA’s Time Service Unit, in coordination with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), shall be tasked to monitor, maintain and disseminate the PST throughout the country. The PAGASA shall operate and maintain a timekeeping system to perform these functions and shall endeavor to install and maintain sufficiently large and prominently displayed synchronized time devices in all their field stations and in key public places.
The procurement of equipment necessary for the automatic dissemination of time with global positioning system (GPS) shall be in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act No. 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act). The DOST shall be the procurement overseer of the said equipment.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) will also require the participation of all government and private television and radio stations to ensure synchronization of timekeeping devices even in the most remote parts of the country.
Owners of private television and radio stations who shall fail to calibrate and synchronize their time devices with the Philippine Standard Time during their broadcast shall, upon hearing and due proceedings, be penalized with a fine of not less than P30,000 but not more than P50,000 in the first offense. A subsequent offense will merit a revocation and cancellation of their franchises to operate.
The fine to be collected as penalty for the violation of this Act shall be deposited in the general fund of the National Treasury.
The law also institutionalizes the first week of the year as “National Time Consciousness Week.”
The PAGASA, in coordination with the DOST, the NTC, the Department of Transportation and Communications, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Department of National Defense, Department of Health, the Department of Education, and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), shall promulgate the necessary guidelines for the effective implementation of the calibration and synchronization of the timekeeping devices and implementation of this Act within 90 days from the effectivity of this Act.
This Act shall take effect after 15 days from its publication in the Official Gazette or in two 2 newspapers of general circulation. (SDR/Sunnex)