'Nothing etched in stone,' Palace says of call to rethink Nov. 2, Dec. 24, 31 'working days'

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS CBN News

Posted at Mar 02 2021 04:25 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte addresses the public after a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila, March 1, 2021. Karl Norman Alonzo, Presidential Photo

MANILA — Malacañang said on Tuesday "nothing is etched in stone" in response to calls for President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider his move of canceling traditional holidays on Nov. 2, Dec. 24, and Dec. 31 in a bid to support economic recovery amid the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With All Souls’ Day, Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve classified sa special working days, workers will no longer get additional holiday pay equal to 30 percent of their daily basic wage, Sen. Risa Hontiveros had said in urging the Palace to reconsider its decision. 

"Tingnan po natin kung ano’ng mangyayari. Nothing is etched in stone naman po," Palace spokesman Harry Roque said.

"Tingnan natin, baka naman dahil may bakuna na, makabalik na tayo sa dati at baka hindi na natin kailangan maghabol pa." 

(Let's see what will happen. Nothing is etched in stone. Let's see, perhaps now that we have vaccines, we can return to normal and will no longer need to work double time.)

Economic managers had urged the President to revise the list of holidays to spur the economy, said Roque. 

"Napakatagal na po nating nakabaksyon, halos isang taon na tayong nagbakasyon dahil sa COVID-19," he said in an online briefing. 

"Siguro naman po, ngayong andito na ang bakuna, hayaan naman nating maka-recover tayo for lost time." 

(We have been on vacation for too long, we have been on vacation for almost a year because of COVID-19. Perhaps now that the vaccine is here, allow us to recover for lost time.)

Lengthy lockdowns to stop the spread of COVID-19 have lead to the Philippine economy's worst post-war slump of -9.5 percent last year. 

The Philippines on Monday started its coronavirus inoculation program, courtesy of China's donation of 600,000 COVID-19 shots from Beijing-based drug maker Sinovac Biotech. 

Video courtesy of PTV