The Work Schedule of President Duterte
Jibes with the Current Global Business Trend
By Apolinario Villalobos
If the new Philippine president, Rody Duterte chooses to work from 1:00PM (1300H) to 12:00 (1200H) noon of the following day, I personally view it as a wise decision as it jibes with the current global business trend. In the Philippines as in other countries, the following business entities operate for 24 hours or at the latest in the evening up to midnight: call centers, airlines, shipping lines, bus lines, land transport services, casinos, restaurants and bars, colleges and universities, vocational schools, business districts (Baclaran and Divisoria in Manila), and all kinds of convenient stores.
Since many years ago, there was a call for the rescheduling of the traditional working hours of 8:00AM-5:00PM to 10:00 AM up to evening, to spread the onrush of commuters and motorists as one way of easing the daytime traffic. Only very few establishments heeded the call. Understandably, their foremost reason is economic as extending the work hours of their employees beyond 5 PM would entail overtime, hence, extra expense. Also, some provisions of the provisions in the Labor Code will have to be rewritten as the distinction between the day and evening work schedule has to be redefined. Most importantly, they were apprehensive for security reason, as only very few police are on duty out in the field in the evening.
An observed inclination among the operative agencies such as those responsible for the traffic management and crime prevention is that they become less and less visible as evening sets. They seem to be also observing the “daytime schedule” of offices. When questioned about this, those concerned assert that they maintain “skeleton force”, meaning, reduction in number on duty. As regards the traffic, this is not reasonable and practical because the afternoon rush hour normally starts at 5:00 PM and extends as late as beyond midnight due to the constricted streets in relation to the ever increasing volume of vehicles on the road. In the case of different crimes, there is an adage that says, “the mouse will play when the cat is away”, meaning, the expected commission of crimes is in the evening when the police is almost not visible and, instead is available only on call.
The chosen schedule of the new president has a great effect on the operational system of the Philippine National Police (PNP). It should find ways and means to adjust to such schedule so that they can be visible and speedily available 24/7. If there is a continued recruitment of the Philippine National Police to expand its rank, there is no reason why the evening posting should not match the daytime’s, especially, in areas where there are nocturnal businesses. Its cooperation is expected in reciprocity to the importance that the new president is giving to it, some manifestations of which are the move to decentralize (distributed among regions) some of the agency’s operations to hasten the release of benefits of its members and the increase in their pay.
Those who smirk at the new schedule of Duterte should look beyond the 8-5 traditional work schedule to understand its advantages. With his work schedule, Duterte will be up and working during the time when many establishments/business are also in operation and many unusual activities are expected to happen. Very subtly, he is wisely setting an example and if those who would really want to cooperate with him are intelligent enough, they should follow suit. This early, government people should learn to read between the lines of Duterte statements and be sensitive to what his actions mean….as he is a man of few words.
By the way, in the olden times, the beginning and ending of the “day/date” were reckoned with the setting and rising of the sun. For instance, July 1 began at 6:00 PM when the sun had set and ended when it had risen again at around 6:00 AM, signaling the occurrence of a new day/date. Those who observed such were the pagan sun-worshippers. It is far different from what is observed today, such that the “day/date” starts at one minute past midnight and ends at the following midnight. Today, such practice has been integrated with the lunar (moon) adherence that is why the so-called “lunar calendar” being used today, has days (for the sun), divided among the months (for the moon). This move was one of the many things that the Vatican’s early papacy did to attract the pagans to the Catholic fold.