Law signed: December 8 now a nationwide holiday

Law signed: December 8 now a nationwide holiday

Altarpiece of the Manila Cathedral, whose formal name is the Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, located in Intramuros, Manila. xiquinhosilva/CC BY

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law that declares December 8 a nationwide special non-working holiday.

The new law declares December 8 as a special nonworking holiday in observance of the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, "the Principal Patroness of the Philippines."

A copy of the signed Republic Act 10966, which aims to commemorate a major Catholic feast, was made public on Friday.

A copy of the signed Republic Act 10966 declaring December 8 nationwide special non-working holiday

The act emanated from the House of Representatives, authored by Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas (Ilocos Norte), a known ally of Duterte.

READ: House approves bill to make December 8 a holiday

The Philippines is a predominantly Catholic country, where many Filipinos celebrate the Feast of Immaculate Conception of Mary.

The Catholic Church considers the feast a "day of obligation," and asks the faithful to attend Mass.

Besides December 8, the Church also considers the following as days of obligation: January 1 (Feast of Mary, the Mother of God), August 15 (Assumption of Mary), November 1 (All Saints' Day) and December 25 (Christmas Day).

The act will take effect 15 days after its publication on the government's Official Gazette or in newspapers of general circulation.

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