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Working days in place of holidays will 'burden, demoralize' Filipino workers â Hontiveros
Commuters are seen queueing in this October 1, 2020 photo.
The STAR/Edd Gumban

Working days in place of holidays will 'burden, demoralize' Filipino workers — Hontiveros

(Philstar.com) - March 1, 2021 - 5:05pm

MANILA, Philippines — Government should take back a move to decrease the number of non-working holidays this year, a senator said Monday, describing it as "rubbing salt on people's wounds" as the country deals with the pandemic and its effects on the economy.

Proclamation 1107, which President Rodrigo Duterte signed last week, makes All Souls' Day, Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve "special working days." The move, meant to spur economic recovery, means workers will not get holiday pay for working on those days.

Social media users questioned the moves, saying three more working days cannot help the economy, which entered a recession because of restrictions against the pandemic.

In a statement, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said Duterte's order is "nothing short of disastrous" for workers.

"While we understand the need to increase economic productivity, demoting special Filipino holidays [will] only burden and demoralize Filipino workers, many of whom are already underpaid and struggling with high prices of goods."

Under the law, employees who work for at least eight hours during special non-working holidays are entitled an additional 30% of their daily rate.

Hontiveros said government should also remember that many of those who will be affected by the order are essential workers such as those in hospitals, groceries and food services. Many of those work at minimum wage, she also said.

"They will already be away from family because they have to be on duty," Hontiveros said in Filipino, "and we're taking away the extra pay for those days?" 

The lawmaker warned that Duterte's proclamation will only be counterproductive and harmful to the country's workforce and on the economy. 

"Workers might think that there is no point in going to work and leaving their families behind on holidays when they won't be paid extra," she also said.

Recent months have seen the Duterte administration saying its decisions are based on the need to ramp up economic activity. 

Many of the restrictions set during the early days of the nearly year-long quarantine have already been loosened, including a cap on capacities of business establishments, as the country continues to fight the pandemic that has infected over 578,000 and killed more than 12,300. — Christian Deiparine

ALL SOULS' DAY CHRISTMAS EVE NEW YEAR'S EVE RISA HONTIVEROS RODRIGO DUTERTE SPECIAL NON-WORKING HOLIDAY
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