As President Duterte cancelled three public holidays to address the “adverse economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic”, the House Committee on Local Government sought to add another non-working holiday every April 27 of each year to commemorate the heroism and victory of Lapu-lapu and his men during the historic battle of Mactan.
Chaired by Tarlac Rep. Noel Villanueva, the House panel strongly endorsed the immediate approval of House Bill 8897 proposing to repeal Republic Act No. 11040 by declaring April 27 of each year a non-working holiday throughout the country.
Cebu Rep. Paz C. Radaza, principal author of the bill, lauded the committee recommendation, saying that approval of HB 8897 will make the celebration of the 500th year of Lapulapu’s bravery in the island of Mactan even more meaningful to Filipinos.
Approval of the measure was recommended amid the controversy generated by Duterte’s decision to cancel three non-working holidays.
On February 28, Duterte issued Proclamation 1107 amending the list of holidays for 2021 by declaring All Soul’s Day, Christmas eve, and New Year’s eve special working days. HB 8897 proposes to repeal RA 11040 that declared April 27 a special working public holiday throughout the country and a special non-working holiday in Lapulapu City. The measure was enacted in 2017, during the 17th Congress HB 2221, Radaza’s original proposal, sought the declaration of Lapulapu Day as a regular holiday to be observed throughout the Philippines.
“While Rizal Day that is celebrated every December 30, and Bonifacio Day every November 30 are both Regular Holidays, RA 11040 declares Lapu-lapu Day as Special Working Public Holiday only. May I point out non-parallelism in considering celebrations of heroes holidays in our country,” stated Radaza, She stressed: “The battle that happened centuries ago, with the heroic act of Lapu-lapu should not be viewed as to pale along with the works of other national heroes like Gat Jose Rizal and Gat Andres Bonifacio.” While the local government committee did not grant Radaza’s proposal, it nonetheless unanimously agreed to push to declare as special non-working holiday the Lapulapu Day or “Adlaw ni Lapulapu” which will fall every April 27 of each year.
Aside from passage of HB 8897, Radaza and other lawmakers involved in the preparation of the Quincentennial Commemoration of the Victory of Mactan have also filed bills proposing to rename the Mactan-Cebu International Airport after Lapulapu.
The Visayan chieftain is considered to be the first Filipino patriot who drove away foreign invaders when he fought off a Spanish expedition led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan on April 27, 1521.