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Senate Bill No. 1457: Paskong Pinoy Bill

In an economy where growth is high but where unemployment, poverty, and hunger are equally high, it is imperative for Government to create the environment for inclusive growth. We must ensure that the fruits of growth flow out-not just “trickle down” -to as many Filipinos as possible, reaching especially those in the countryside and rural areas.

To achieve this, we must be willing to innovate and pave the way for opportunities to spring up across our diverse and culturally rich archipelago. One of the most effective ways to do this is through local tourism.

According to a report released by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) in May 2013, the “tourism direct gross value added” to the Philippine economy, as of 2011, was estimated at Php571.3 billion. Meanwhile, the tourism sector’s contribution to the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GOP) in 2011 was 5.9 percent, slightly higher than the ten-year average of 5.8 percent. Moreover, the data also showed that the tourism sector generated 3.8 million jobs in 2011, or 10.3 percent of all jobs in the Philippines for that year.

It is clear that tourism has a direct and positive impact on the national economy, local industries, and the employment and livelihood of millions of Filipinos.

With this in mind, one of our proposed solutions is to institutionalize the observance of long holidays from December 25 to January 1 every year as special non-working days. Through the “Paskong Pinoy Bill“, we aim to encourage local tourism and spending, thereby channeling much-needed resources to various parts of the Philippines.

A longer Christmas holiday can help spur the economy on several levels. First, it encourages families to spend more time and money on recreational activities such as dining, shopping, and leisure, thereby boosting the revenue potential of local businesses. Next, it encourages local travel, boosting growth in the local travel and hospitality industry and also opening up opportunities for communities who thrive on tourism income. Even farmers, fishermen, boatmen, vendors, and many other micro enterprises will benefit from having tourism income flow to their respective communities. Next, it may also encourage an influx of foreign visitors to the Philippines, knowing that the country’s already-festive Christmas season will be amplified by more recreational and tourism-oriented activities.

This bill also recognizes the Filipino value of love for family, encouraging more Filipino families to spend time together during the long break.

The bill also recognizes, however, that the private sector may be concerned by possible productivity losses during this period. In this regard, the bill also proposes that the last Saturday before December 25 and the first Saturday after January 1 be considered regular workdays, in. order to make up for the two (2) working days that will be affected by the proposed break.

In view of the foregoing, the early approval of this bill is earnestly sought.



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