November 17, 2022
MANILA — Filipinos will have more reason to go on “revenge travels” in 2023 after being grounded for more than two years by the pandemic, thanks to a newly tweaked schedule of nonworking days.
Invoking “the principle of holiday economics,” President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has added one more special nonworking day and moved two holidays to Monday to create more long weekends.
Proclamation No. 90, signed by the president on Nov. 11 but released by the Palace on Wednesday, added Jan. 2, 2023, a Monday, as a special nonworking day.
Two fixed holidays, Araw ng Kagitingan and Bonifacio Day, which fall on April 9, Sunday, and Nov. 30, Thursday, respectively, were moved to April 10 and Nov. 27, both also Mondays.
“There is a need to adjust these holidays pursuant to the principle of holiday economics wherein a longer weekend will help encourage domestic travel and increase tourism expenditures in the country,” Marcos said in the proclamation.
Prolonged New Year
He said that with New Year’s Day 2023 falling on a Sunday, it “is but fitting” to declare Jan. 2, 2023, as additional nonworking day throughout the country in consideration of the Filipino tradition of visiting relatives and spending time with their families for the occasion.
Filipinos will also have a longer weekend by moving Araw ng Kagitingan and Bonifacio Day to the nearest Monday, provided the historical significance of these holidays are duly highlighted.
In August, Marcos first issued a list of 19 regular holidays and special nonworking days for 2023, through Proclamation No. 42.
Holiday economics first became buzzwords during the Arroyo administration, when a 2017 law—Republic Act No. 9492—moved certain holidays to Mondays. Aside from Araw ng Kagitingan and Bonifacio Day, the observance of Labor Day (May 1), Independence Day (June 12), Rizal Day (Dec. 30), and Ninoy Aquino Day (Aug. 21) were also rescheduled for this purpose.
Even a holiday falling on a Wednesday may be moved to the Monday of the same week. If it falls on a Sunday, the holiday may be observed on the Monday that follows.
For the other holidays that could be moved, the president is required under RA 9492 to issue a proclamation on the changes at least six months before they occur.
Hopes of reviving tourism through holiday economics are being buoyed by the easing of pandemic restrictions since the start of the year, particularly for foreign visitors.
As of Nov. 14, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said visitor arrivals to the Philippines reached 2.025 million since the gradual easing of pandemic restrictions in late 2020. Of this number, 1.5 million, or 73 percent, are foreigners while 538,078, or 27 percent, are overseas Filipinos.
Between February and September this year, visitor arrivals generated an estimated P100.7 billion in tourism earnings, the DOT added.