On 3-Day Long Weekends

August 12, 2010

On 3-Day Long Weekends

In the Philippines, when we say "long weekends" it refers to regular nonworking holidays transferred by Presidential Proclamation, to a Monday or a Friday of the week where the holiday falls to make up 3-day long weekends. It was a practice started by President Arroyo's Administration and was formalized into law in 2007. It is now officially known as Republic Act 9492, or informally known as the Holiday Economics Law.

When the Aquino Administration came into power, a lot of people were concerned that this practice will not be continued. I will attempt to answer the questions people ask me regarding this issue.

Can President Aquino change this practice?
Since it is a law, it is not discretionary on President's Aquino's part to follow it or not. As the head of the Executive Department,  his  obligation is to follow and enforce the law of the land. He may review it and recommend to Congress to amend it. But until Congress amends it, the law continues to be in effect and President Aquino is compelled to follow it. The 3-day long weekends continue until Congress passes a law to amend it, or, as recent developments show, until the President makes a contrary proclamation.

Based on recent developments  (see President Aquino junks holiday economics policy on Aug 21 holiday) apparently the President can change by proclamation the day when the holiday will be observed as a non-working holiday. In the absence of a proclamation, or if the President remains silent on the matter, the rules stated on the holiday economics law will be followed. So what the President needs to do is to make a proclamation on each and every holiday if he wants the holiday to be observed on a date different from the date stated in the Holiday Economics law. The law, however, requires him to make a proclamation 6 months before the date of the holiday.

It now becomes more confusing for us citizens, especially moms who need to to organize multiple schedules. When before, you know when the holiday falls, which is on the day itself. Now you don't really know when. Since the Aquino administration disregarded the 6 months notice rule on making the proclamations, we now don't know what to expect in the remaining holidays of 2010.

To summarize, the law on the matter is as follows:
Pre-Arroyo time: if the holiday is on June 12, the non-working day is on June 12.
Arroyo time: if the holiday is on June 12, the non-working holiday is on the Monday nearest June 12, unless she moves it to a different date by proclamation six months before the holiday
Aquino time: if the holiday is on June 12, the non-working holiday is on the Monday nearest June 12, unless he moves it to a different date by proclamation six months before the holiday.
Even if President Aquino can make a proclamation contrary to the Holiday Economics Law, the law still requires him to make the proclamation six months before the holiday. Therefore, nonworking holidays for 2010 should have been respected. President Aquino should have been estopped from making any proclamation to the contrary.

Why do I want the 3-day long weekends to continue? 

It promotes the well-being of the FAMILY

We, parents, all know how hectic life becomes when you have kids. Sometimes the the regular weekend is not enough to rest or simply hang-out with them. School work or kids' extracurricular activites even extend to Saturdays. Sundays are usually reserved for the occasional family gatherings. The three-day weekend is a welcome practice for families because it gives us a bonus day to rest and recharge for the coming weeks. Contrary to what other people say, this practice helped us become more productive and efficient and able to meet the constant demands of family and work life.
It promotes the well-being of the ECONOMY 

Families usually travel a lot only during summer. The weather is great and  schedules of the parents and children are easier to coordinate. Domestic tourism  benefits with the practice of having 3-day weekends because family travel becomes an option even during school season. Parents consider it worthwhile to travel because you get the most value out of the vacation when it is at least three days. You have a full day to enjoy your destination, other than the day of your arrival and the day of your departure.

If you'd like to comment on this issue, a facebook page has been launched and it's called Pabor Ka Ba Sa Holiday Economics? It was created to help President Aquino decide whether to retain the law or not. If you'd like to have your opinions heard go to Pabor Ka Ba Sa Holiday Economics?

The Remaining long weekends of 2010
August 21-23
August 28-30
End of Ramadan holiday has not been declared yet. It is predicted to occur on September 11.
October 30-November 1
November 27-29
December 24-27
December 31-January 2, 2011

Recent developments:  Malacanang announced that it will respect the Holiday Economics Law