The upcoming APEC meeting is not a holiday


ALTHOUGH we have, along with the rest of our friends in the local media, dutifully reported the news that the government has declared a holiday period next month (November 17 to November 20) for the meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Manila, we have the impression that the public is for the most part neither aware of nor interested in the international trade and policy conference.

It should be. For most of this year, the Philippines has played host to a series of APEC meetings in different places, mainly Cebu and Iloilo, and to be selected as the venue for the APEC is not only a compliment to our country, but an indicator that we are considered to have some degree of global relevance.

On a more practical level, however, the public should be aware of the upcoming APEC meeting because of the considerable interruption it will bring in our day-to-day affairs, thanks to President BS Aquino 3rd’s exercising the one bit of authority he seems to be really good at, declaring official holidays with no regard to their consequences.

In the month of November, there are ordinarily just two public holidays: All Saints’ Day (November 1) and Bonifacio Day (November 30). There are 20 business days during the month this year. By declaring a holiday for the APEC meeting, however, even in just Metro Manila, Aquino has cut the number of working days to 14 – effectively shutting down the country for more than week total; the week of November 16 will have only one working day, that Monday.

What will happen as a result worries Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) President Hans Sicat so much that he has asked the Palace to relent and permit trading and more importantly, bank financial clearing activities, on at least two of those days. The costs of a four-day holiday will be astronomical; while the retail sector might expect a bit of a boost in revenues due to customers having a lot of free time on their hands, any business who must keep people on the job during that period will be paying more to do so – in most cases, their payroll costs will double. That, however, is probably a minor expense compared to the losses that will be incurred by having the local markets and banking system shut down for a continuous four-day stretch. For the bank clearing system, the costs will extend a few days after the holiday, into the following week, due to the extra effort that will be needed to handle the backlog of transactions.

The irony is, all this will be occurring during what is primarily an economic summit: The Philippines will be putting its worthiness to be an important part of the web of regional commerce on display by…not doing any actual work. It is funny and we should all be laughing as if we were watching a TV sitcom–if it didn’t have real-world negative consequences.

Although we realize that President Aquino, not having much in the way of business experience of his own to guide him, may have trouble wrapping his head around the logic, we urge him to heed the advice of PSE President Sicat and other knowledgeable business leaders, and modify the upcoming holiday to reduce it by a couple of days.

What we really think he should do is rescind his well-meaning but extremely unhelpful proclamation altogether.


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  1. Alfred S Tingabngab on

    And that, as stated in the article, is the stupidity of the Abnoy Administration. It comes as no surprise anymore since the time he was accidentally voted into office due to the death of his mother, to the Luneta micro-management, to the sell-out of Sabah to Malaysia, to the sell-out of Scarborough Shoal, to the invasion of the West Philippine Sea by China, to the Unconstitutional DAP and PDAF used to buy votes to impeach Corona, to the Arbitrary Detention of PGMA, Unconstitutional Reproductive Health Law, The rapid increase of the National Budget wherein it didn’t improve public services and it is isn’t felt by the people, to poor infrastructure underspending, SAF 44 Massacre, the deteriorated transport services of the MRT and the NAIA, the Rigging of election using PCOS machines, among others and so much more corruption and incompetence…Abnoy Aquino and his LP should be stricken out in history books and should be a pinnacle example of stupidity and incompetence. A shame to our nation and people.

  2. An employee who gets by with minimum wage or a bit higher could barely make ends meet, what more with 4 days holiday w/o pay?

    • this is devastating to those who are on contractual basis. 4 days of no work means 4 days of no money for food and utilities. hindi bale yung mga contractual workers sa mga malls at food chains they will get paid but for those contractual workers in offices, NGA NGA sila. many gov’t employees under contract will be seriously affected. mababa na nga ang sweldo kada araw, 4 na araw pa walang sweldo. THIS IS THE RESULT OF PAWARDE WARDENG PALAKAD NG GOBIERNO. KAYA NAGDEKLARA NG WALANG PASOK KASI NGA SOBRA TRAPIK. ALAM NATIN LAHAT BAKIT. YUNG NAKALIMOT SA DAHILAN, ANG SANHI PO NG MALUBHANG TRAPIK AY YUNG SABAY SABAY NA CONSTRUCTION NG MGA SKYWAYS NA DAPAT SINIMULAN NA 5 YEARS AGO PERO IBINURO HANGANG SA HULING TAON NI BOY SISI. AYUN ANG RESULTA, GRIDLOCK.