ARRIVING late for meetings and appointments has become normal in recent years primarily because of the worsening traffic everywhere in Metro Manila and other urban centers.
Transportation and traffic problems have justified the so-called Filipino Time, the bad habit of being an hour or more late. Being late has become the stereotype of Filipinos.
“Filipino Time” is a negative trait that we should change as we begin a new year.
It is thus fitting that an official of the Department of Education (DepEd) reminded teachers recently about punctuality and honesty.
Teachers are supposed to be role models to their students, the parents, and the community.
Being a good and effective teacher doesn’t only mean having a good scholastic record, great teaching techniques, but also having good work ethics, said Tonisito Umali, DepEd assistant secretary for legal and legislative affairs, as reported in The Manila Times.
“The concept of being honest and being on time in binding the very basic values of our children is very important,” Umali said on the sidelines of the awarding ceremonies for this year’s search for the outstanding W.A.T.C.H [We Advocate Time-Consciousness and Honesty] schools.
Teachers should teach students the value of punctuality by arriving in class on time. Being late is disrespectful of other people’s time, as well as insulting and infuriating.
Traffic is no longer an acceptable excuse when you use it on most days of the week. Traffic congestion is already part of everyday life in the Philippines. But we still use traffic as a reason for being late for appointments.
Given that traffic congestion has been the normal situation in the past few years, we should already be able to estimate the travel time to our destination and leave earlier than usual to be on time.
Of course, being punctual should not apply only to teachers but to every Filipino. But the teachers bear the extra burden of teaching the value of time to young minds so they will grow up ingrained with the desirable habit of punctuality.
As broadcaster Mario Garcia would often tell his students at The Manila Times College, arriving five to 10 minutes early for an appointment is on time, and coming on time is late.
Punctuality is a good sign that a person who observes it has self-discipline and respect for other people. Honesty goes with it. When you are on time, you don’t have to think of reasons like the traffic to justify your being late even when you actually woke up and left home late.
Well, sometimes the reason for being late may be acceptable, such as road accidents or emergencies. But be sure to notify the person who may be waiting for you that you are running late.
What is irritating is when someone chooses to be fashionably late.
Going back to DepEd, the agency took the right step in entering into a memorandum of agreement with the Junior Chamber International (JCI) to further strengthen the values of punctuality and honesty among DepEd officials, non-teaching personnel, and teachers through Project W.A.T.C.H., which was launched in 2008 during the term of Secretary Jesli Lapus.
“Project W.A.T.C.H. is a program that needs strong support from the education department, and we are very glad that we are already doing this for how many years,” Umali said.
“We will strengthen the concept of values formation. As I have always said, whoever we are right now is a product of good education, the kind of pedagogy, the kind of values education formation that we’ve had in the past 30 or 40 years. And if we do it in a better way, people will become honest, punctual, and more disciplined,” Umali said.
Let’s help change the concept of Filipino Time. Happy New Year!