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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Holy Week Holidays in the Philippines 2013

Filipinos all over the country will have a rare four-day holiday toward the end of March as the predominantly Catholic nation marks the annual Holy Week. These non-working days had been identified by President Benigno Aquino III in his Proclamation 459, which was issued last year. Click here to access the contents of Proclamation 459. The said holidays are listed below:

March 28, 2013 – Maundy Thursday (regular holiday)

March 29, 2013 – Good Friday (regular holiday)

March 30, 2013 – Black Saturday (special non-working holiday)

Some points of clarification for our readers: First, as written in this blog in the past, regular holidays and special non-working holidays are governed by different pay rules as mandated by the Department of Labor and Employment. Even if an employee chooses to not report for work on Maundy Thursday, he or she will still get 100% of his or her salary for that day. This applies regardless of a worker’s employment status.

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Department of Labor and Employment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Meanwhile, employers are not required to pay their employees during special non-working days (ergo, the policy “no work, no pay”) “unless there is a favorable company policy, practice, or collective bargaining agreement (CBA) granting payment on a special day.” Read the detailed DOLE pay rules here.

Because of the three consecutive holidays, some employees may be tempted to prolong their vacation.  According to DOLE, workers are entitled to holiday pay only when they are “on leave of absence with pay on the workday immediately preceding the regular holiday.” Click here to read DOLE’s Handbook on Worker’s Statutory Monetary Benefits (2010 edition).

What about Easter Sunday, which falls on March 31, 2013? Curiously, it is listed neither as a regular holiday nor as a special non-working day. Ergo, if the nature of your job requires you to work on this day, chances are, there’s no premium pay for you.

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Reversals of fortune: Gloria Arroyo and Joseph Estrada

The nation today marks the 27th anniversary of the 1986 EDSA People Power protests that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos. And since the current president is the scion of the family that benefited the most from EDSA 1986, the government of President Benigno Aquino III as well as the media will again surely lavish attention on this event (especially since 2013 is an election year).

This stands in clear opposite in the way the 12th anniversary of the 2001 EDSA People Power protests last month was treated by nearly everyone. The best way to illustrate how things have turned out in the twelve years since  EDSA 2001 is by looking at the lives of the two leading dramatis personae’s in the event – Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

On January 20, 2001, Arroyo took the oath of office as the 14th president of the Philippines with then-Chief Justice Hilario Davide. Though he physically vacated the Malacanang Palace aboard a barge that took him to his San Juan residence, Estrada insisted that he never resigned his post.

In a ruling promulgated six weeks after EDSA 2001, the Supreme Court stated that Estrada “constructively resigned” his post because of his statements and actions on that fateful day. Arroyo served out the final three years of Estrada’s term before winning another six-year mandate by beating Estrada’s bosom buddy, actor Fernando Poe Jr., in the 2004 presidential elections.

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EDSA People Power 2001 (Credits: http://thefilipinoservant.wordpress.com)

Estrada was found guilty of plunder by the Sandiganbayan in 2007, and was ultimately granted pardon by Arroyo a month after. Despite his legal woes, Estrada was able to flex his political muscles in all the national elections that followed his 2001 ouster. For some reason, his “Erap para sa mahirap” stuck. And better yet for Estrada, those who played a major role in EDSA 2001 openly expressed regret years later over how things eventually played out just like now-deceased former President Corazon Aquino.

Arroyo for her part retained slightly positive approval ratings in her first three years in office. Things took a turn for the worse in 2005, when the “Hello, Garci” scandal broke out. The following years didn’t get any better for the nation’s second woman president as allegations of massive corruption (NBN-ZTE deal, fertilizer fund scam, etc.) seriously challenged her administration. And as repeated in the media time and again, Arroyo left office in 2010 with the dubious distinction of being the country’s most unpopular president.

The reversal in the fate of Arroyo and Estrada is very evident in this election year. Following his surprise second place finish in the 2010 presidential race, Estrada is now challenging incumbent Alfredo Lim to be the mayor of the City of Manila.

Estrada is also one of the so-called “three kings” of the United Nationalist Alliance, the loosely-knit coalition challenging Liberal Party in the 2013 midterm polls. And because of his alliance with Vice President and 2016 presidential aspirant Jejomar Binay, his son Senator Jinggoy might be tapped as the latter’s running mate. Ergo, Estrada’s influence in Philippine politics may be felt for another decade or so.

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Vice President Jejomar Binay, former President Joseph Estrada, and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile went to Cebu to show their support for Cebu Gov. Garcia (photo by Mike Acebedo Lopez)

If Estrada can take pride in being a kingmaker in all the national elections the past 15 years, the same cannot be said with Arroyo. One indicator of Arroyo’s enduring unpopularity is the fact that politicians, even from her own party, are reluctant to be associated with her.

In the lead-up to the 2007 midterm elections, current President Aquino, then a three-term representative from Tarlac, remarked: “This election is turning out to be a referendum on the Arroyo presidency and from the looks of it, her candidates are sure losers because of the kiss of death from you-know who.” And the elections validated his observation.

Of the twelve candidates running in the administration coalition that year, only two won. Miguel Zubiri, the initially proclaimed winner, resigned last 2011 amidst allegations of widespread cheating in Maguindanao. Three years ago, not one but two presidential candidates were derailed by perceived association to Arroyo – Gilbert Teodoro, her party’s official nominee, and Manuel Villar, her alleged secret candidate. In a survey last year by Pulse Asia, it was revealed that 82% of the respondents will not support candidates endorsed by Arroyo.

Estrada’s popularity continues to ride high, while Arroyo remains detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center. This is not to say that Estrada’s ouster in 2001 is wrong. Sandiganbayan’s verdict in 2007 proved that the allegations against him are factual. That Estrada was able to nearly win the presidency despite being ousted and convicted of plunder shows that winning perception is already half the battle. Meanwhile, it may take years before the cases against Arroyo get resolved but for now, things are looking good. (To be continued)


Muntinlupa Charter Day holiday – March 1 2013

Muntinlupa City will have a special non-working day holiday this coming March 1. The said city in southern Metro Manila will be marking its 18th anniversary of its charter on the said day. Residents of Muntinlupa City will effectively enjoy a three-day weekend since this holiday falls on a Friday.

This particular holiday is stipulated in Republic Act 9191 which was signed by then-President Fidel V. Ramos back in 1998. Read the full text of RA 9191 here. Muntinlupa’s formal conversion from being a municipality into a highly urbanized city happened during the time of Ramos. RA 7926, otherwise known as the Charter of the City of Muntinlupa, came into effect in 1995. Access RA 7926 here, and know more about the pay rules set by the Labor Department for special non-working holidays here.

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On Team PNoy’s campaign ad

Three weeks after its rival United Nationalist Alliance launched a campaign ad twitting the administration’s “daang matuwid” mantra, the ruling Liberal Party (LP) came out with an ad presenting their twelve senatorial bets with President Benigno Aquino III himself introducing each candidate. Watch the 45-second video below:

“Sa daang matuwid, marami ang gustong sumali. Pero meron ding nagpapanggap lamang,” Aquino warned in the advertisement. This is in direct reference to politicians previously allied with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who are now in his camp.

Aquino then introduced his bets as individuals the public can truly trust (“Ang siguradong mapagkakatiwalaan…”). After introducing all twelve candidates in alphabetical order, Aquino declared: “Mga tunay na tuwid sa daang matuwid!” A male narrator then quips “Daang matuwid, mag-ingat sa ‘di tunay” just before the ad ends.

The president’s “daang matuwid” slogan was first used during the 2010 presidential elections (watch the video here). This message resonated effectively for an electorate tired of the corruption scandals that hounded the Arroyo administration for nine years.

It also explains why three years into office, Aquino is still very adamant in drawing contrast between him and his predecessor (for example, he hit Arroyo yet again during the LP’s proclamation rally last February 12). And although Aquino’s continued attacks on Arroyo makes him sound like a broken record, he remains popular.

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President Aquino with the twelve administration senatorial candidates dubbed as “Team Pnoy.” (Credits: Albay Gov. Joey Salceda)

According to a January 19 to 30, 2013 survey by polling firm Pulse Asia, Aquino retains a 66% trust rating among Filipinos. This is twelve points lower than his November 2012 rating, this approval rating is still something that most head of government can only dream of. United States President Barack Obama for instance has an approval rating of 52% although he is only less than a month into his second term.

If the administration coalition is capitalizing on Aquino’s popularity to ensure victory in the 2013 polls, the 2007 midterm election under Arroyo was a different story. As an example, Arroyo neither made an appearance in TEAM Unity’s coalition ad and nor was she mentioned at all. See it below:

The campaign ad of Team PNoy is interesting in many angles. Noticeable is the decision of Nacionalista Party candidates Alan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Cynthia Villar to not wear yellow in the advertisement. Speaking to Rappler.com, Cayetano explained that this is their way of retaining their identity even though they are coalition partners with the LP. “Out of respect, instead of wearing our own color (orange), we’ll wear our neutral color,” Cayetano said.

A similar observation has been made about Mar Roxas, Aquino’s 2010 vice presidential candidate. Instead of wearing yellow, Roxas sought to make himself standout by wearing blue in public appearances.

In a report by Vera Files, political strategist Malou Tiquia commented that in doing so, Roxas “was more of Mr. Palengke than a partner of Noy (Aquino).” In contrast, Roxas’ opponent Jejomar Binay seemed more than willing to associate himself with the Aquinos as evidenced by this ad for him by Senator Francis Escudero.

Aquino’s main message that some politicians are merely riding on his administration’s anti-corruption drive may be true because of the bandwagon mentality. However, it makes him sound like a demagogue and a hypocrite.

Not all of his party mates are stain-free, and this includes his allies in Palawan who are involved in the Malampaya fund mess and his shooting buddy former Interior undersecretary Rico E. Puno. Aquino himself is not immune to the realities of politics of convenience. How does he explain his endorsement of Mrs. Villar, the wife of the man he himself has accused of corruption just three years ago?

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Zamboanga City Charter Day – February 26 2013

President Benigno Aquino III has declared February 26, Tuesday, a special non-working holiday in Zamboanga City. The said city in Western Mindanao will be marking its 76th Charter Day anniversary (referred to locally as Dia de Zamboanga) on that day. Aquino made the announcement through Proclamation 544. Read the proclamation in full in this link.

Zamboanga City became a chartered city in 1937, when the Philippines was still ruled by a Commonwealth Government under then-President Manuel L. Quezon. On February 26 of that year, Asia’s Latin City had its first set of city officials. Click here to know how you should be paid by your employer if you report for work on February 26.

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February 24 2013 Cebu City Charter Day

Cebu City will be marking its 76th annual charter day this February 24. The day, which falls on a Sunday, is a special nonworking holiday in the so-called Queen City of the South by virtue of Republic Act 7257. RA 7257 was enacted during the time of then-President Corazon Aquino. Read the full text of RA 7257 here.

The charter of Cebu City is also known as Commonwealth Act No. 58 (click here to read it). CA No. 58 was approved October 20, 1936 while the city’s formal inauguration happened February 24, 1937 (hence, the selected date for the festivities).

According to a brief history posted in the website of the Cebu City government, then-Interior Secretary Elpidio Quirino represented President Manuel L. Quezon during the event. Quirino himself became president from 1948 to 1953.

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The City Hall of Cebu City (photo by Mark Madrona)

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Caloocan City Day – February 16 2013

Caloocan will be celebrating the 51st anniversary of its cityhood this February 16. Caloocan City Day falls on a Saturday this year. The day is a special non-working holiday in the city according to Republic Act 7550, which was enacted in May 1992 during the term of then-President Corazon Aquino. Read the full text of RA 7550 here.

Formerly a component municipality of Rizal province, Caloocan was converted into a city through Republic Act 3278 (access its full text here). RA 3278 was signed into law by then-President Diosdado Macapagal in 1961. The residents of Caloocan approved the law in a plebiscite held February 16 of the following year.

English: Cropped photo of President Diosdado M...

Former President Diosdado Macapagal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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