Roque clarifies Filipinos not able to work due to pandemic, not vacationing
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has clarified his earlier statement that Filipinos had been in a vacation for almost a year due to coronavirus pandemic, which prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare as "special working" the three dates this year supposedly non-working days.
"We've been in a long vacation already. We're vacationing for almost one year already because of COVID-19," Roque said in a televised press briefing on Tuesday.
Since the COVID-19 vaccine is now in the country, he said, "let us allow to recover for lost time."
His statement drew criticisms from netizens.
In an interview with state-run television PTV4 on Wednesday, Roque said he did not really mean that Filipinos were on vacation since last year when the government imposed lockdowns to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"The context here is many people were not able to work because of the pandemic. That's why the economic team wants that we can catch up, and that's the context of what I've said. That's not really a vacation, it's because they were not able to work. That's why now we hope we can work because the economy is reopening. Let us allow our people to work and earn," he explained.
Duterte recently issued a proclamation amending his previous issuance declaring All Soul's Day on November 2, Christmas Eve on December 24, and Last Day of the Year on December 31 as "special working days" instead of special non-working days.
"For the country to recover from adverse economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a need to encourage economic productivity by, among others, minimizing work disruption and commemorating some special holidays as special (working) days instead," Duterte said in the latest proclamation. Celerina Monte/DMS