MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino will not move legal holidays falling on a weekend as former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had done, Malacañang said yesterday.
Speaking to reporters, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Mr. Aquino will observe national holidays on their exact dates.
“He mentioned Independence Day,” he said.
“It’s a sacred day. You don’t move Independence Day. You cannot allow the facility of saving on time and all that because it’s a special day.
“You move Independence Day, you move the sense of nationhood.”
Lacierda said Mr. Aquino was not happy that Arroyo had moved the Independence Day holiday to the nearest Monday.
“So that June 12 will remain as June 12,” he said. “It will not be moved anymore.”
Lacierda said Mr. Aquino’s advisers will discuss with him the possibility of asking Congress to amend the law allowing the moving of legal holidays.
“I’m sure that if it is something he frowns upon, then the appropriate actions can be taken,” he said.
In 2007, Arroyo signed into law Republic Act 9492 amending the Administrative Code of 1987 to allow the moving of most holidays to the nearest Monday, except those with religious significance.
Under that law, four holidays would continue to be celebrated on a fixed date: Jan. 1, New Year’s Day; Nov. 1, All Saints’ Day; Dec. 25, Christmas Day; and the last day of the year, Dec. 31.
Three other holidays, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Eid’l Fitr have always been movable.
The remaining holidays affected by the law are:
• Araw ng Kagitingan – Monday nearest April 9;
• Labor Day – Monday nearest May 1;
• Independence Day – Monday nearest June 12;
• Ninoy Aquino Day – Monday nearest Aug. 21;
• National Heroes Day – Last Monday of August;
• Bonifacio Day – Monday nearest Nov. 30; and
• Rizal Day – Monday nearest Dec. 30.
In the case of movable holidays, the president shall issue a proclamation at least six months prior to the holiday concerned, the specific date that shall be declared as a non-working day.
The law also provides that Eid’ul Adha shall be celebrated as a regional holiday in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The law was conceptualized by Sen. Joker Arroyo in response to the practice of the previous administration of sudden announcements of special non-working holidays.
The nation observes 11 national regular holidays and three nationwide special days.