MANILA – Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Monday urged Malacañang to reconsider its decision to make All Souls' Day, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve this year as “special working days,” warning that the policy would be “counterproductive and harmful for the workforce.”
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte, through Proclamation No. 1107, declared Nov. 2 (All Souls Day), Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve) and Dec. 31 (New Year’s Eve) this year as “special working days” to help the economy recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hontiveros, however, said the move would only demoralize Filipino workers since people who would report to work on those dates would no longer be entitled to holiday pay, which is granted to workers during special non-working holidays.
“While we understand the need to increase economic productivity, demoting special Filipino holidays to special working holidays will only burden and demoralize Filipino workers, many of whom are already underpaid and struggling with high prices of goods,” the lawmaker said in a statement.
“Bakit aalisin ang pagkakataon para kumita ang mga kababayan natin ng extra, ngayong marami ang hirap sa buhay?” she added.
(Why are we taking away an opportunity for our fellow citizens to earn more, especially now that many are facing hardships.)
Hontiveros also said most Filipinos who work on those dates are frontliners and essential workers in the medical field, hotels, restaurants and malls, among others.
She added that All Souls Day, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are important holidays for Filipino families.
“May iba namang mga special non-working holiday na pwedeng galawin… Dapat understood na non-negotiable ang mga petsang ito,” Hontiveros said.
(There are other special non-working holidays that can be adjusted… It must be understood that these dates are non- negotiable.)
The pandemic has caused the Philippines to plunge into its worst economic contraction since World War 2.