To de­clare it a hol­i­day or not Aern

Sun.Star Pampanga - - OPINOIOPNINION -

con­gress­man from the south

Philip­pines is push­ing for the dec­la­ra­tion of the up­com­ing Chi­nese New Year to be a spe­cial non-work­ing pub­lic hol­i­day in the coun­try. His in­ten­tion is to ex­press grat­i­tude to the valu­able con­tri­bu­tions of the Chi­nese-Filipino com­mu­ni­ties in na­tion­build­ing.

As per House Bill 2575, the pro­posed leg­is­la­tion seeks to rec­og­nize the con­tri­bu­tions of the Chi­nese in Philip­pine so­ci­ety and their rich cul­tural tra­di­tions.

It is un­de­ni­able that we have a long stand­ing eco­nomic and trade re­la­tion­ship with China which re­minds me of the Chi­nese junks and the mer­chants who then traded earthen and porce­lain wares, silk and other com­modi­ties from the said coun­try in ex­change for our prod­ucts.

We can still re­call Chi­nese traders who trav­elled to the Philip­pines and made barter of goods. The peo­ple from China are known for their ex­per­tise in com­merce and busi­ness. In fact, this is true un­til to­day.

In our coun­try, the Bi­nondo and the Divi­so­ria ar­eas in Manila are known for Chi­nese busi­nesses and res­i­dences. The former is full of jew­elry shops, restau­rants and bou­tiques while the lat­ter is known as the “bagsakan” of al­most all com­modi­ties and things needed by man.

In the world, there are many coun­tries with their own “Chi­na­towns” in­clud­ing the United States and Europe. This fact re­flects the role of the Chi­nese in com­merce and busi­ness ac­tiv­i­ties in re­spec­tive coun­tries they are in.

Go­ing back to the Philip­pine set­ting, we can also see Chi­nese traders or res­i­dents in many prov­inces and cities in the coun­try. They are known for big or small busi­nesses and have carved their names in the busi­ness sec­tor. The rich­est Filipinos to­day are in fact former Chi­nese cit­i­zens who have “Filip­inized” them­selves.

As to the leg­isla­tive pro­posal, it also aims to rec­og­nize the con­tri­bu­tions of the Chi­nese to our coun­try by mak­ing the Chi­nese New Year a hol­i­day. For this year, the said oc­ca­sion falls on Jan­uary 28, a Satur­day.

With­out op­pos­ing the said pro­posal, I ex­press my scep­ti­cism to it since it might cre­ate prece­dence to some other race or na­tion­al­ity who are like­wise cel­e­brat­ing their day in our coun­try.

What if the Arabs, the Euro­peans, the Hawai­ians or other na­tion­al­i­ties would also in­voke that their na­tional days or cel­e­bra­tions of their im­por­tant oc­ca­sions be also cel­e­brated or revered in the Philip­pines?

Be­sides, busi­ness com­mu­ni­ties would not pre­fer more hol­i­days within the year since this would mean dou­ble pays for their work­ers and would like­wise ham­per in their com­mer­cial ac­tiv­i­ties such as those in­volved in pro­duc­tion or man­u­fac­tur­ing.

In truth, hol­i­days are some­how in­fla­tion­ary are they cause dis­trac­tions to many eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties. While they are con­sid­ered as rights or privileges to many Filipinos, they are some­times a hin­drance to some in­dus­tries.

Nev­er­the­less, there is noth­ing wrong with cel­e­brat­ing the Chi­nese New Year and even declar­ing it a hol­i­day in the coun­try. We must be ready how­ever, to de­clare also the other im­por­tant cel­e­bra­tions of other coun­tries in the Philip­pines.

*** For any com­ments, ideas, sug­ges­tions or opin­ions, text or call The Ad­vo­cate at 0921-3636360 or sen d email at den­

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