Not all Filipinos enjoy long holidays, Balisacan says

While long holidays are often embraced by many, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan believes they can pose challenges for Filipinos striving to earn a living.

Balisacan explained that mandatory holidays enforced by the government can be especially burdensome for workers who rely on their daily wages, as they are unable to earn income during these periods. 

The NEDA chief also said the frequent occurrence of holidays can create a sense of uncertainty among businesses, potentially deterring their investment.

“The impact on workers is somewhat mixed due to the prevalence of a ‘no work, no pay’ arrangement,” Balisacan said.

Specifically, the NEDA chief said frequent holidays have a detrimental financial impact, particularly on individuals who aim to work extra hours to make ends meet.

“As a result, many workers are unable to report to work and face financial challenges, particularly within the private sector where this situation is widespread,” Balisacan said.

On Friday, Malacañang released the official list of regular holidays and special days for the year 2024.

Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin signed Proclamation No. 368, which brought about a few modifications to the list. 

Notably, the anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution was removed from the lineup, while Chinese New Year and Christmas Eve were included as special non-working days.

The proclamation detailed a total of 10 regular holidays and eight special non-working days that will be observed throughout the upcoming year.

“If you examine our holidays, the business community is asserting that, in comparison to other countries, we have a greater number of holidays,” Balisacan said.

He added that an excessive number of holidays can negatively impact investor confidence.

“We are viewed by investors as just one among many potential destinations. Therefore, we cannot afford to be excessively generous with our holidays, as it can impact profitability compared to other locations,” Balisacan said.

While holidays have a positive impact on tourism, Balisacan emphasized that these leisure activities are primarily accessible only to individuals who have the financial means to travel.

“A long holiday is not suitable for everyone; it is not what they want for some people,” Balisacan said. “However, for those who have some financial resources in life, they may enjoy the idea of extended vacations and travel opportunities.”