MANILA – Malacañang on Monday defended President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to change three special holidays in 2021 into special working days.
On Friday, Duterte signed proclamation 1107 declaring three special holidays—November 2 -Tuesday (All Souls’ Day), December 24 – Friday (Christmas Eve), and December 31 – Friday (Last Day of the Year)—as special working days “to boost economic productivity in the country amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic”.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said these special holidays were changed into special working days to recover lost time when stricter lockdowns were imposed across the country.
“Ang rationale naman po diyan dahil nga po sa Covid-19 e talagang ang dami na natin pagkakataon na hindi nakapasok ang ating mga manggagawa at siguro ngayong nandito na yung bakuna ay kinakailangan tayo kahit paano maka-recover ng lost time (The rationale there is because of Covid-19 there were times when our workers were not able to report for work so now that we have the vaccine we need to recover lost time),” he said.
On Sunday, Vice President Leni Robredo criticized the government for its decision to change three holidays into special working days saying it has implications for Filipino workers.
She said employees would only get regular pay when working during a special working day, instead of getting additional pay during regular or non-working holidays.
Duterte, in Proclamation 1107, emphasized that Covid-19 protocols set by the government discourage large gatherings and festivities that usually take place during public commemorations.
“For the country to recover from the adverse economic impact of the Covid-19, there is a need to encourage economic productivity by, among others, minimizing work disruption and commemorating some special holidays as special (working) days instead,” the proclamation read.
Under Proclamation 1107, the 2021 regular holidays are January 1 (Friday) – New Year’s Day; April 1 – Maundy Thursday; April 2 – Good Friday; April 9 (Friday) – Araw ng Kagitingan; May 1 (Saturday) – Labor Day; June 12 (Saturday) – Independence Day; August 30 (last Monday of August) – National Heroes Day; November 30 (Tuesday) – Bonifacio Day; December 25 (Saturday) – Christmas Day; and December 30 (Thursday) – Rizal Day.
Special non-working days are February 12 (Friday) – Chinese New Year; February 25 (Thursday) – EDSA People Power Revolution Anniversary; April 3 – Black Saturday; August 21 (Saturday) – Ninoy Aquino Day; November 1 (Monday) – All Saints’ Day; and December 8 (Wednesday) – Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. (PNA)