Weak consumption during long holidays

It’s a long weekend in the Philippines. With schools, banks and business establishments closed, most people here are at home.

For those who find their living every single day, the long holiday was bad for their business.

30-year-old Julieta, a vendor selling sweet coconut water near a major park here in this city, says she barely had anything yesterday, making only 100 pesos ($2.37), four times less than what she earns on normal days.

“I used to earn 1000 during the Kadayawan, though normally I earn 700 out of the 400 pesos capital I use to buy all of these ingredients to make my products. But with the holidays and few people going out, I only earn 100,” she lamented.

Bad business for some, good for others. For the tourism industry, Mindanao Business Council chair Vicente T. Lao said it would benefit well.

The President declared Monday and Tuesday as official non-working holidays at all sectors in the country to celebrate the National Heroes Day and the end of the Islamic fasting, respectively, making it a long weekend from Saturday down to the last day of holiday.

It’s an ironic picture of what the government wants to achieve: encourage domestic tourism and private spending. Businessmen complain they have lost productivity and the hassle of preparing mandatory holiday and overtime salaries in a short period of time.

“In terms of business its negative because our monthly sales are lessened. For us, nobody goes to our stores because the people are on the streets,” an entrepreneur told this writer.

Despite this, majority of of Filipinos took advantage of the government’s ambition of giving the people “full and uninterrupted opportunity” to holidays. They say the long weekend means more time for their families, a tradition Filipinos value the most.

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