The title of this post should have been in the form of a question, intended to solicit your opinion: Do you agree with Malacanang’s policy to discontinue the holiday economics of the previous administration? You could go direct to the bottom of the post to write down your opinion. Or you can read on.
The shift away from the holiday economics of the previous administration (and Congress, which passed the law rationalizing the national holidays) is clear from the presidential issuance that fixed the dates of the legal holidays, Proclamation 84. To better appreciate the change in policy, let’s take a step back.
Most of the holidays, as indicated in the laws providing for holidays (Republic Act Nos. 9492 and 9849), are movable, usually to a Monday. These laws provide, among others, that if the holiday falls on a Wednesday, then the holiday will be observed on the Monday of that week, and if it falls on a Sunday, then the holiday will be observed on the Monday that follows. The President is required to issue the necessary proclamation at least six months from the scheduled holiday. Past Presidential Proclamations follow the “movable holiday” trend. This resulted to long weekends consistent with the policy dubbed as “holiday economics”.
The 2011 list under Proclamation 84 retained the original holiday dates, even if the holiday falls on a Sunday (or, for that matter, days other than Monday or Friday). While there are a few long weekends in 2011 (see, for instance the August 27-30 long weekend), the intent to veer away from holiday economics is clear.
I don’t have any beef with holiday economics. There’s time to take a long weekend vacation and recharge. Vacation spending contributes to the circulation and liquidity of the system. The additional expense for holiday pay could be programmed into the business budget and work schedule could be scheduled in advance. The problem with the holiday economics implemented in the past administration is not the policy per se, but the habit of announcing long weekends a week or two from the intended date, contrary to the 6-month period prescribed by law.
Employers may welcome the shift, as it lessens costs for holiday pay. On the other hand, this may have an impact on tourism, as domestic tourists are more likely to go on vacation during long weekends. Employees, who no longer have long weekends (and holiday pay) to look forward to, may not be happy with this new policy. A this point, we can only guess as to the effect of this shift of policy. What do you think?