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Palace on Nov. 2, Dec. 24, Dec. 31 as special working days: Napakatagal na po nating nakabakasyon

President Rodrigo Duterte won’t be taking back his decision to declare November 2, December 24 and December 31 this year as special working days, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Tuesday.

Roque was responding to opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros's call for the Chief Executive to reconsider the move, saying that it will mean that workers will not be eligible for an additional holiday pay of 30% of their daily basic wage, among other amenities given to workers on duty during special non-working holidays.

“We have to recover lost time. Napakatagal na po nating nakabakasyon. Tingnan natin kung anong mangyayari. Let us have faith in our economic team,” Roque said.

“Iyong iba nga po, nawalan ng trabaho at gusto na makapagtrabaho,” he added.

President Duterte earlier declared such dates as special working holidays aimed at minimizing work disruption and help the country recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Labor Assistant Secretary Dominique Tuyay earlier said that at least 25,000 individuals lost their jobs in January 2021 alone.

“Meron po tayong 25,226 na manggagawa from 1,421 food establishments na tuluyan nang nawalan ng trabaho ngayong Enero,” Labor Assistant Secretary Dominique Tuyay said.

Likewise, Tuyay said there are around 108,000 workers that could fully return to full-time work once quarantine restrictions are eased.

“Meron pa rin po tayong 108,000 workers na under flexible work hours or those working for temporary closed establishment. Kapag lumuwag na ang ating [restrictions sa ating] ekonomiya, ito pong mga 108,000 ay maaring tuluyang makabalik sa five days, six days a week [na trabaho],” she added.

The Labor department has already proposed a three-month subsidy for workers amounting to P7,000 to P11,000 per worker every month.

Tuyay said that this is worth P62 billion to P180 billion.

This proposal, however, is still pending before the desk of President Duterte. — BM, GMA News