‘We need to catch up on work’: Roque clarifies ‘vacation’ flak
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday clarified his remark that the country went on almost a year of “vacation” due to COVID-19, saying he meant many were unable to work during this time.
“Alam niyo po, ang konteksto nito, yung karagdagang araw na pinagpapatrabaho tayo, kasama na po ‘yung bisperas ng Pasko, bisperas ng Bagong Taon. Ang konteksto lang nito, talagang maraming tao ang hindi nakapaghanapbuhay dahil dito sa pandemiyang ito kaya nga ninanais ng economic team na makahabol naman tayo, at iyon po ang konteksto na aking sinabi,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.
(You know, the context of this was the additional working days that include Christmas Eve and the New Year’s Eve. The context was that many weren’t able to work due to the pandemic that’s why the economic team wanted us to catch up, that’s the context of what I said.)
“Hindi naman po talaga bakasyon ‘yan, kung hindi, hindi nakapagtatrabaho, kaya ngayon na pupuwede na po tayong makapagtrabaho sana dahil nagbubukas na tayo ng ekonomiya, hayaan naman nating kumita at makapagtrabaho ang ating mga kababayan,” he added.
(It’s not a vacation, but many were unable to work. That’s why now that we can return to our jobs as the economy reopens, let the people earn and return to their jobs.)
Roque was criticized online after saying that the declaration of November 2, December 24 and 31 as “special working days” is meant to “recover for lost time” following nearly a year of “vacation.”
Senator Risa Hontiveros earlier urged Malacañang to reverse the declaration on the “special working holidays.”
Due to this proclamation, Hontiveros said employees who would report to work during these dates will no longer be entitled to the additional holiday pay of 30 percent of their daily basic wage that is granted to workers during special non-working holidays.
In response to calls for the reversal of the declaration, Roque said “nothing’s etched in stone” yet.
“Tignan po natin baka naman dahil may bakuna na eh makabalik na tayo sa dati at hindi na natin kinakailangan maghabol pa,” he said.
(Let’s see if now that we have the vaccine, we might return to how it used to be and if we won’t need to catch up.)
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