Villanueva calls for holiday rationalization as Senate OKs bill declaring Jan. 23 “First PH Republic Day”

Senator Joel Villanueva on Monday called for holiday rationalization as the Senate approved on third and final reading a bill that seeks to declare January 23 of every year a special working national holiday to commemorate the First Philippine Republic.

Senate Bill No. 1525 or "The First Philippine Republic Day" was approved with 20 affirmative votes, zero negative vote and zero abstention.

"I would like to thank my colleagues, especially Senator Chiz Escudero who chairs the Senate Committee on Education, Arts, and Culture, for sponsoring this important measure which will give due recognition to this crucial part of our history. This bill seeks to remind us of our predecessors' fiery desire to effectuate liberty and self-rule which eventually sparked the dawn of Philippine democracy," said Villanueva, author of the bill.

Villanueva also stressed that it is important to achieve a balance between commemorating the said momentous event and at the same time rationalizing our holidays due to its sheer number.

"As chairperson of the Senate committee on labor, we will ensure that the holiday rationalization will address all the issues raised by our workers and employers, and the challenges of the ASEAN integration," the senator said during today's session.

"We agree that there should be prudent declaration of non-working holidays, but I hope that holiday rationalization can provide us with guidelines or recommendations where occasions or events may be considered a 'special working' or 'non-working holiday.'"

"We hope that in the future, the First Philippine Republic will become part of the non-working holidays. This is to give full opportunity to our countrymen to reflect on this very important milestone of our history that epitomizes the enduring traits of the Filipino people: courage, love for God and country, closeness, and solidarity -- the traits that shaped our nation and continue to do so today," Villanueva concluded.

Source: Senate of the Philippines

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