MANILA, Philippines -- Ignoring his predecessor?s holiday economics policy, President Aquino restored on Wednesday the commemoration of his father's death anniversary to Aug. 21, Saturday, instead of following the "holiday economics" law that set its observance on the nearest Monday, Aug. 23.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Aug. 23 would be a regular working day.
The office of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa released an announcement Wednesday night ?declaring the observance of Ninoy Aquino Day on Aug. 21 as a natiowide special (non-working) holiday.?
It said Republic Act 9492 or the holiday economics law, which rationalized the celebration of national holidays, amended some provisions of the Revised Administrative Code ?by declaring that certain holidays are to be moved to the nearest Monday unless otherwise modified by law, order or proclamation.?
The announcement also explained that observing the slain senator's death anniversary on its actual date,? instead of Aug. 23, would avoid the imposition of unnecessary financial burden upon the employers, ensure the continuity of government, business, and commercial transactions, promote productivity, while at the same time preserve the solemnity of the observance.?
Cabinet members agonized for hours on Tuesday over whether to sustain former president Gloria Arroyo's proclamation that set the observance on this day.
In a news conference earlier this week, Lacierda mentioned the President's ?personal sensitivities? as the reason why Malacañang had not yet confirmed the date set under the holiday economics policy.
?We had an interesting discussion,? Lacierda said in Wednesday's press briefing. ?Some (Cabinet members) wanted to maintain (the holiday on Aug. 23), some (did not) want to...make it a holiday.?
As of early afternoon on Wednesday, Lacierda refused to make any categorical statement whether Malacañang would follow Arroyo's proclamation.
All he said was: ?In the end, the President made a decision and we'd just have to wait for the office of the Executive Secretary to make that announcement.?
However, Lacierda said that under the law, the ?sitting President? has been allowed to ?modify? the former president's proclamation.
Lacierda said there were no suggestions during the Tuesday meeting to repeal Arroyo's holiday economics edict.
Asked whether the discussion centered on the President's sentiments, Lacierda replied: ?It was not about his sensitivities. It was not about...his father. It was very, very pragmatic decision.?
He added: ?The President also got inputs from Cabinet secretaries regarding the efficiency of (declaring) Aug. 23 a holiday...Questions were asked. What would be effect if we declare a holiday. What would be the effect on the economy and all that.?
?I cannot disclose which members are for or against since the decision of President will prevail. The delay in the announcement (initially because of regard for the) sensitivities of the President. But later, it was a very pragmatic decision.?
Arroyo envisioned the holiday economics decision as an arrangement to provide three-day weekends to families and promote domestic tourism, thereby stimulating consumption and local economic activities.