When two national holidays overlapped

Yesterday’s proclamation of Eid Al-Adha, a Muslim holiday, shocked employees who hoped that this Wednesday, August 22, as their expected date was bluffed out by  officially celebrating it on Tuesday, August 21. But Tuesday is already a holiday — Ninoy Aquino Day.

In fact, Ninoy Aquino Day began observance since 2004 while Eid Al-Adha began since 2010.

It ended up with varying emotions from confusing for the payroll department on whether it should apply a special rate (130% of daily salary) or regular rate (200%), insulting as President Rodrigo Duterte diverted the commemoration of the slain senator who is a father of his immediate predecessor, Noynoy Aquino, and frustrating for those who filed their vacation leaves for a long vacation of up to 10 days has been shortened to just four.

Many of you had strong points on why Wednesday should be a holiday and not merged with one already a holiday as a Muslim holiday can last for two more days after 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah (the Islam’s 12th lunar month).

Here are the four things (points and implications) to take into account:

  1. Our Southeast Asian neighbors have announced the dates of Muslim holidays for the coming year in advance. The Philippines does not; we have to wait for confirmation from the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos.
  2. The heads of state and/or government in the said region have the limited right to promulgate national holidays because the legislature has the clear, supreme imposition. Ours is obviously problematic as the President and its individual motive have strong, effective power to proclaim such holidays. This is due to the provision of the “holiday economics” policy that grants the President to proclaim such holidays for the upcoming year, superseding what Congress actually sets.
  3. Unlike other Asian countries, there is no legislative mechanism on how to deal with overlapping national holidays. The Araw ng Kagitingan holiday on April, which has a bit more chance to coincide than this Eid-Ninoy Day, can also fall on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday but there are no substitute holidays.
  4. The public holiday treatment for our Southeast Asian fellows have streamlined with one pay rule: pay double if you work and pay regularly if you don’t. As mentioned before, ours is a bit complicated with two types: regular and special.

If you are not convinced, look out for the opening of our stock market on Wednesday and after 3:30 p.m., if our stock index dips because the regional bourses are closed — no regional transactions — you should really be alarmed.

With the country facing federalization, I think the Congress shoud review the Administrative Code and the Labor Code, particularly on the provision regarding national holidays, in addition to the enacted laws establishing nationwide holidays.

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