Holiday economics needs review– NEDA

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THE bill allowing long weekends to boost tourism and domestic consumption warrants careful study, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

In a televised briefing, Neda Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon said having longer weekends may also have a negative impact on businesses in terms of cost.

Edillon said the impact of the economy must first be net positive, otherwise the bill would not boost economic growth. She said this is the reason for the need to study the proposal.

“[We have to] make sure that it doesn’t add to the cost of doing business because we know that such holidays entail costs in terms of extra pay,” Edillon said. “We at Neda will do the analysis once the bill gets to us for comment.”

Nonetheless, Edillon recognized that allowing long weekends could help boost domestic tourism and promote work-life balance. But, she added, this has to be checked against the additional costs that businesses may incur.

“We will estimate what will be the net benefit of this to society, taking into consideration, the additional cost to producer but at the same time an increase in consumption. If it’s possible to end up with a net positive, we will study that,” Edillon said, partly in Filipino.

On Tuesday, Senator Raffy Tulfo filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 1651 amending Republic Act (RA) No. 9492 which permits certain holidays to be observed on a Monday.

Under SB No. 1651, if the holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, it will be observed the following Monday.

Tulfo proposed that the President issue a proclamation on the first Monday of December on the specific dates that shall be declared as a non-working day for the following year.

“Holidays are integral in order to honor and commemorate special events or traditions with cultural or religious significance. The Philippines celebrates 18 national holidays annually, four of which are considered ‘special non-working holidays.’ These aforementioned days may at times fall on a weekend making them feel less celebratory for individuals.

“Additionally, the increase in the number of long weekends can help reduce stress, prevent burnout, and promote work-life balance for both employees and students by allowing them to decompress and spend time with their family and friends,” the bill’s explanatory note read.

Holiday Economics was passed into law during the term of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo under Republic Act 9492, which moved regular and special holidays to the nearest Monday to boost domestic tourism.

However, the term of the late President Benigno Aquino III saw the end of the Arroyo administration’s practice of moving holidays to the nearest Monday with the release of Proclamation 84.