Editorial: A different All Saints’ Day

CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is actually known to make weird proposals. During his lone and lonely stint as Cebu City’s south district representative, from 2010 to 2013, he filed House Bill 3152 or “An Act Declaring Dec. 25 to Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 as Special Non-working Holidays.” He also called it the “Happy 8” or eight-day holiday bill. The aim is to give workers a continuous holiday from Christmas to New Year.

Nothing came out of that bill, of course, not only because Osmeña is not known to be a consensus-builder and must not have gotten support for the measure in the House of Representatives but more so because many sectors are opposed to its logic. Osmeña didn’t have a chance to follow up that proposal in the next Congress because he ran for Cebu City mayor again in 2013 and was defeated by Michael Rama.

Back in the saddle at the City Hall, Osmeña has come up with another interesting proposal, something that he wants Cebu City representatives in Congress--Rodrigo Abellanosa or Raul del Mar--to sponsor. Under the proposal, every first Monday of November would be declared a holiday, ensuring that the celebration of All Saints Day would always follow the non-working days of Saturdays and Sundays.

The proposal is obviously not well studied because if it was, Osmeña would have anticipated opposition from the Catholic Church. Indeed, Msgr. Ruben Labajo, team moderator of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, has already voiced such opposition. All Saints’ Day, after all, is a religious celebration and moving its observance is dependent on the church, not on Congress. Besides, All Saints’ Day has been observed for eons now and is a worldwide celebration.

But to be fair, it would also be good to look at the essence of the Osmeña proposal. It might be good to look into the rationalization of holiday declarations, not just All Saints’ Day. In the past, Osmeña’s rationale was that longer holidays would advance domestic tourism. That, though, requires a deep study than just proposing it on the fly, like what he is doing.
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