I DID not completely agree with the holiday economics law that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law when she was president because it created too many holidays, unduly raised payroll expenses for businesses and, in my opinion, desecrated the celebration of certain events by moving them to the nearest Monday.

Still, the law had its merits. The intention of the former president was to allow workers to go on a three-day weekend to spend time with their families, travel, go to the mall and do whatever else they might be enticed to do to keep the economy going.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

A new president then enters into the picture—-Noynoy Aquino, whom I incidentally voted for in the last elections. I respect the man for his principles but in his decision to declare Aug. 21 (Saturday) a holiday instead of Aug. 23 (Monday) as would have been the case with the holiday economics law of the former administration, I firmly disagree.

I disagree with his decision not because I think Ninoy Aquino’s death anniversary should not be celebrated on Aug. 21, the actual date of his death, but because the public was not advised early enough about this change of policy and as such, plans have already been made for this anticipated long weekend.

I am not personally affected by the non-declaration of Aug. 23 as a holiday. But I know many who have been affected by this.

First are the students enrolled in the 2010-2011 school year whose school calendars were released before Noynoy Aquino assumed the presidency of this nation. These students had already made previous plans to return home for the long weekend. Booking early to take advantage of promotional rates, their already purchased airline tickets are non-refundable.

Second are the workers who have made travel plans for the three-day weekend. As with the students, excited and ready to go off on their vacations, they are now caught in a bind, with non-refundable tickets and messed-up holidays to boot.

Third are the businesses that are now left high and dry with their early planning. In anticipation of the Monday holiday schedule, adjustments in production shifts to hedge against holiday costs have already been made and appropriate work schedules released.

I do not disagree with President Aquino’s plan of fewer holidays under his watch. I am all for celebrating events during their original dates. And I understand that for many businesses, the influx of Monday holidays actually causes either a rise in payroll costs or a disruption of services to clients.

But while I recognize that it is the prerogative of the president to revise the policies of the former administration or to even decide the issue of holidays on a case-to-case basis, all I ask is that the President would consider giving the public longer notice.

As we cannot read the President’s mind, perhaps, as early as now, he should start thinking about what is to be done with the rest of the holidays for the year 2010 and announce his decision soon. That way, we can all plan our schedules better, work more efficiently, conserve our hard-earned money and live more productive lives.

(sunstarcebucolumnist@yahoo.com)