Two more long weekends from the PNoy administration coming up!
This coming weekend will be another long weekend, as Filipinos remember the dead and the saints. It will be a 4-day weekend as Nov1 falls on a Tuesday, leaving Oct31 in between two non-working days, hence Oct31 was recently declared a holiday. The week after, will be once again another 3-day weekend, this time to give way to Eid Al-Adha for the Muslims, which for this year falls on a Monday. This will have lots of implications to the economy and businesses and traffic, especially the first one which falls on a month-end payroll weekend. But to a normal employee, a holiday is a reason to celebrate.
More Filipinos usually flock the cemeteries during Nov1 compared to Nov2 though Nov1 is actually All Saints Day. All Souls Day is actually remembered during Nov2 but this is rarely declared a holiday, just like for 2011, hence not too many Filipinos can go to cemeteries during this day. Aside from Holy Week and Christmas, Filipino extended families also have their mini-reunions and get togethers during these days, tagged by Western cultures as Halloween.
Interestingly, even if the PNoy administration started the year without much of the holiday economics that we used to enjoy from the Arroyo administration, lately we are seeing additional holidays declared almost on short-notice (2-3 weeks at the most). Oct31 and Nov7 just to name a few. Makes me wonder whether this administration is having a change of heart and view on long weekends, or whether advisors have just recently convinced decision-makers to declare holidays, even if it was unanticipated and out of the plan previously.
Is the government trying to catch up on holidays, as it also tries to catch up on spending? Well consistent to the holiday economics theory, the view is more holidays will actually spur economic growth as there are more days for the private sector to spend on tourism, going to provinces, shopping, paying toll fees, etc. And maybe more holidays will give the government more free days to accelerate its constructions and other public works when highways are expected to be less crowded.
Likewise, you might have noticed that we celebrate more and more national holidays especially observed by our Muslim brothers and sisters. Years back, we did not have a nationwide holiday for Eid ul-Fitr. Now we have 2 Muslim holidays so far, including Eid Al-Adha. I take this to be a welcome development since this country, even if predominantly Christian, still has significant populations with other beliefs, such as Islam. And who knows, this might also be a way to soften the hearts of select Muslim groups who until now is at war and at rebellion against the government, regardless of who the President is. Now the next questions is, how about the other religions and beliefs in the country, who by themselves also observe other holidays?
Now for the rest of us out there who usually just wish for certain days to be holidays, and ask why the government cannot just declare it to be one, think again. It’s not as simple as choosing a day to be a holiday because just an additional day without work has lots of implications to other people, businesses and groups. To the economy as a whole.
But since it’s there already, sealed and on paper, why not make the most of it right? So where will you go this long weekend? To cemetery, to provinces? To malls? To Mecca? Time to shop for Christmas? Trick or treat?