Speaker wants review of existing holidays in PHL

By Sammy F. Martin

MANILA, Feb. 13 (PNA) — Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. proposed for a review of the existing holidays in the country.

During the closed door meeting Wednesday between leaders of the House of Representatives, foreign chambers of commerce representatives and the Makati Business Club (MBC) leaders, Belmonte said one of the major request they asked to Congress was to trim down the number of existing holidays in the country as it affects the business community.

“They compare it with our neighbors. They want to be competitive in that aspect. I think decrease is probably what they are thinking,” Belmonte told reporters in an interview.

He said it is about time to look at these holidays on what exactly their economic impact in terms of competitiveness with other countries.

“Sa akin lang, bakit naman ang dami-dami nating holidays. There are sorts of holidays that are of greater impact on businesses and on certain parts of the country,” the Speaker noted.

“We have to study it, we are talking about it in relation to our neighbors, tingnan natin kung ilan ang holidays ng ating mga neighbors, because it is also in the context of being competitive,” he added.

To date, there are 10 regular holidays being observed in the country — New Year’s Day (January 1); Araw ng Kagitingan (April 9); Maundy Thursday and Good Friday; Labor Day (May 1); Independence Day (June 12); National Heroes Day (last Monday of August); Bonifacio Day (November 30); Christmas Day (December 25) and Rizal Day (December 30).

On top of these holidays, there are four special non-working holidays — Chinese New Year (depending on the Chinese calendar); Black Saturday; Ninoy Aquino Day (August 21); Eid’l Fitr and Eidul Adha; and All Saint’s Day (November 1).

The Office of the President also regularly declares other special holidays such as Christmas Eve (December 24) and New Year’s Eve (December 31). (PNA)