December 5, 2023

On Oct. 11, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has issued Proclamation 368 enumerating the regular and special holidays in the Philippines for 2024.
In it, there are 10 regular holidays, namely New Year’s Day on Jan. 1, Maundry Thursday on March 28; Good Friday on March 29; Araw ng Kagitingan on April 9; Labor Day on May 1; Independence Day on June 12; National Heroes Day on Aug. 28; Bonifacio Day on Nov. 30; Christmas Day on Dec. 25; and Rizal Day on Dec. 30.
There are also eight special holidays, namely Chinese New Year on Feb. 10; Black Saturday on March 30; Ninoy Aquino Day on Aug. 21, All Saints’ Day on Nov. 1, All Souls’ Day on Nov. 2, Feast of the Immaculate Conception on Dec. 8, and the last day of the year on Dec. 31.
Not on the list is People Power Day or the so-called EDSA Revolution which is celebrated every Feb. 25. This day commemorates the uprising that was instituted by the Filipino people in 1986 to regain their freedom.
The revolution was precipitated by a series of events that saw the ouster of the President’s father, Ferdinand, Sr. From thence, Feb. 25 became a special day among Filipinos so much so that it became a regular holiday up until 2023. For 2024, it is conspicuously omitted and its celebration consigned to the drawing boards.
As per the President’s spokesman, Feb. 25, 2024 was not among those listed as a regular holiday because it falls on a Sunday. Accordingly, to declare otherwise will be counter-productive as there will be no socio-economic impact that will be generated. And since it coincides with a traditional rest day, there is no sense in declaring it as a holiday. Really?
The logic that Feb. 25, 2024 is not listed as a holiday because it falls on a Sunday is specifically flawed. We look at the list of the previous year’s holidays and several are on Sundays. Dec. 24, 2022 is a Sunday, so is Jan. 1, 2023. The last day of the 2023 falls on a Sunday. All the more that excluding Feb. 25 as a holiday which, politically speaking, is a bad mark for the Marcos family, is not excusable. Remember, that day is not an ordinary holiday. It is one that is fraught with political and constitutional repercussions.
This, therefore, makes the omission more suspicious. Feb. 25 is traditionally the day when the victims and critics of the first Marcos regime take to the streets to rally and air their grievances against the actual and perceived abuses that were perpetrated by the late strongman against them. It is a day when Filipinos are reminded that once upon a time, they took to the streets, specifically in EDSA, to denounce a dictatorship, chase him out of Malacañang and regain their freedom by their own act and sacrifice. This should not be forgotten.
It is true that as the years passed, the fervor of and the intensity in celebrating “People Power” has radically if not greatly diminished. A few years ago, a great multitude of people akin to that of the crowd who attends the Feast of the Black Nazarene, look forward to going back to EDSA to rekindle the fire that was created by the so-called spirit of EDSA. That is now a thing of the past. Currently, the celebration of the People Power Revolution will be lucky if it can command 500 people. Yet, this is no excuse to ignore it. Neither is it an excuse to erase in the annals of history by conveniently skipping it as a holiday.
In a way, removing the People Power Revolution from the list of holidays is a form of “prior restraint.”
Prior restraint is a form of censorship that hinders the right of the people to express their grievance against the government. Eradicating the People Power Revolution from the list of holidays is a political masquerade to discourage the people from gathering and petitioning the administration for redress against past accountabilities. For truly, without the people, there is no power.