Public holiday announced in Philippines night before; sparks anger among employees, businesses

The Philippine government on Friday issued a clarification that paid leave will no longer be provided for the original holiday February 25

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Reuters file photo
Reuters file photo

Published: Fri 24 Feb 2023, 11:44 AM

Any declaration of an official paid holiday is likely to be welcomed with cheers and applause. In the Philippines, however, one such advisory yesterday drew flak — because it was announced the night before.

The Philippine government declared today (February 24) as a special non-working holiday to commemorate the Edsa People Power Revolution anniversary which is usually celebrated February 25. Since the occasion falls on a Saturday this year, the government decided to move it to February 24 to give some sectors a long weekend.

While moving holidays around to create long weekends is usual practice, this particular decision was met with criticism because it was announced at around 7pm (Philippine time) — when most offices were already closed and business meetings and appointments were already scheduled.

Some welcomed the surprise holiday, but other Filipinos took to social media to express their frustration as the last-minute advisory threw their plans into disarray.

“I don’t see the reason why announcements have to be made last minute. Some businesses can’t just cancel their operations in a snap,” said a Netizen named Peachy.

“What about banks? I hope they’re open tomorrow as we have urgent transactions. I wish we knew of this earlier this week,” said another named Marnie Camungol Lagoc.

“This is too sudden! Hope they considered nurses who will be taking their exams on Feb 24. Some came from provinces and it’s hard to schedule a new appointment,” said Joyce Rii.

Edsa People Power is the revolution that toppled the earlier Marcos regime in 1986. The president then, Ferdinand Marcos Sr, was the father of the current Philippine President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr.

Other Filipinos looked beyond the last-minute announcement and lauded how the president recognised the occasion regardless of their family history.

“Thank you Mr President! You respect People Power rev! I appreciate your kindness and your good attitude,” said Red Layco.

The government on Friday clarified that since the paid holiday was moved, February 25 (Saturday) is no longer a holiday. This means those who work on a Saturday wouldn’t be able to enjoy a long weekend.


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