Written by Mia Gonzalez
GIVING in to the clamor of the business sector, Malacañang has advanced the release of regular holidays, special nonworking days and special school holidays for 2010.
President Arroyo signed Proclamation 1841 on July 21, 2009, pursuant to Republic Act 9492, which provides that holidays, except those religious in nature, are moved to the nearest Monday unless otherwise modified by law, order or proclamation.
The President declared December 24, 2010, which falls on a Friday, as an additional nonworking day; and December 27, 2010, the Monday nearest Rizal Day on December 30, 2010, as a regular holiday, thus providing for a four-day Christmas weekend next year.
“In order to foster close family ties and enable our countrymen to observe Christmas more meaningfully, it is but fitting to declare December 24, which will fall on a Friday, as an additional special [nonworking] day throughout the country,” she said.
The President added that “this will also serve to strengthen family relationships by providing a longer weekend and renewing ties for a longer period of time, as well as promote domestic tourism.”
Under Proclamation 1699, the declared regular holidays are New Year’s Day (January 1), Maundy Thursday (April 1), Good Friday (April 2), Labor Day (May) 1, National Heroes’ Day on the last Monday of August (August 31), and Christmas Day (December 25).
Regular holidays observing the “Monday holiday” policy are Independence Day on June 14 (the Monday nearest June 12), Bonifacio Day on November 29 (the Monday nearest November 30), and Rizal Day on December 27 (the Monday nearest December 30).
The special nonworking days in 2010 are Ninoy Aquino Day on August 23 (Monday nearest August 21), All Saints Day on November 1, and Last Day of the Year on December 31.
The President also declared the Edsa Revolution anniversary as a special holiday for all schools on February 22, the Monday nearest February 25.
The proclamations declaring national holidays for the observance of Eid’l Fitr or the end of Ramadan, and Eid’l Adha or the Feast of the Sacrifice, will be issued after the approximate dates of the Islamic holidays have been determined in accordance with the Islamic calendar (Hijra) or the lunar calendar, or upon Islamic astronomical calculations, “whichever is possible or convenient.”
The Office on Muslim Affairs shall inform the Office of the President on which days the holidays shall fall.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will promulgate the implementing guidelines for Proclamation 1841.
Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said in his weekly news briefing that Malacañang decided to issue the list of holidays for 2010 way ahead of time to help businesses and schools prepare for them.
“It’s important to declare [the holidays early] because this is also what the foreign chambers and businessmen are looking forward to so that their business program would become more predictable,” Ermita said.
Ermita said the DOLE estimates an P8-million loss for each big business firm with each nonworking holiday declaration, and no pay for daily wage earners.
“Do you know that every time we declare a nonworking holiday, it means P8 million to [each] business firm whose employees go on a nonworking holiday? So it’s not just a matter of the Office of the President declaring a holiday as working or nonworking, there is a peso sign attached to it,” he said.
We should start planning on what to do on holidays!