A SENATOR has filed a bill that seeks to boost local tourism by setting national holidays that fall on a weekend to the following Monday.

“The increase in the number of long weekends can help reduce stress, prevent burnout and promote work-life balance for both employees and students by allowing them to decompress and spend time with their family and friends,” Senator Rafael “Raffy” T. Tulfo said in the explanatory note of Senate Bill 1651.

The measure will amend Republic Act 9492 or the Holiday Economics Law, which was enacted in 2007 under then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to boost tourism by moving regular and special holidays to the nearest Monday. Her successor, the late President Benigno “Noynoy” S.C. Aquino III changed this under Proclamation 84.

Under the bill, the president will issue a proclamation on the first Monday of December setting the holidays for the following year.

“The Philippines celebrates 18 national holidays yearly, four of which are considered special nonworking holidays,” Mr. Tulfo said. “Holidays are integral in order to honor and commemorate special events or traditions with cultural or religious significance.”

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. earlier declared more long weekends for 2023 to ensure the recovery of the tourism industry.

Holiday economics “will help encourage domestic travel and increase tourism expenditures in the country,” he said in Proclamation 90, which declared Jan. 2 a special nonworking holiday in lieu of New Year’s Day, which fell on a Sunday.

The Department of Tourism (DoT) is confident that more long weekends in 2023 will boost local tourism and benefit micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), especially in tourism hotspots.

The Tourism department in November said more holidays and long weekends would benefit entrepreneurs because the longer Filipino tourists stay in a particular destination, the more they would spend on local products.

Long weekends would help spur economic activities, sustain tourism-related employment opportunities and aid communities that depend on tourism, it said. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan