Bangsamoro Parliament’s committee approves bill regulating declaration of holidays in the region
July 12, 2023

DAVAO CITY — A measure that would regulate the declaration of regional and local holidays in the region will now advance to the plenary, following the Bangsamoro Parliament’s Rules Committee approval of BTA Bill No. 192 on Wednesday, July 12.

The Government of the Day, in filing the bill, seeks to provide specific guidelines for observing regular and special holidays in the Bangsamoro region, reflective of the region’s rich history, tradition, cultural heritage, and economic progress.

The proposed measure also aims to repeal the existing Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act 17, which previously recognized Muslim historical and religious events and all existing Muslim holidays in the former ARMM.

To ensure the representation of the Bangsamoro constituencies in the proposed legislation, a public consultation was held on July 11 in Davao City.

Various stakeholders, including provincial and local government units, BARMM offices and ministries, representatives from the business and labor sectors, and academic institutions, participated in the consultation.

They discussed the potential impact of the bill on private workers, business sectors, religious groups, schools, and local government units.

The proposed measure has garnered support from various stakeholders, who recognize the importance of honoring the cultural identity of the Bangsamoro people.

Jose Emmanuel Cedeno, the HROD director of the Lamsan Group of Companies, who recognized the importance of recognizing and honoring the cultural identity of the Bangsamoro people, commended the measure.

He said that while there might be temporary challenges in business operations, the long-term benefits of recognizing these holidays outweigh any inconveniences.

BTA Floor Leader and Rules Committee Chair Atty. Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba reiterated that the bill aims to strike a balance between preserving the cultural significance of regional and local holidays and minimizing disruptions to the local economy and daily life.

Before receiving approval at the committee level, the COR members engaged in thorough deliberations and made amendments to each section of the proposed measure.

The committee’s amendments have resulted in legislation that specifies various regular and special non-working holidays to be observed throughout the region. These holidays include:

• Bangsamoro Foundation Day;
• Eid’l Fit’r;
• Eid’l Adha ;
• Day of Shuhada;
• Day of Arafah; and
• 1st Day of Tashriq.

Meanwhile, special working holidays are:
• Holidays identified in Presidential Decree No. 1083 other than those determined in the bill;
• Bangsamoro Day of Solidarity;
• Battle of Bud Daho Day;
• Commemoration of the Signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro;
• Battle of Bayang Day; • Shiek Karimul Makhdum Day;• Shariff Kabunsuan Day;
• Commemoration of the Signing of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement – December 23 or the 1996 Final Peace Agreement; and
• Bangsamoro Indigenous Peoples’ Thanksgiving Day.

Deputy Speaker Atty. Omar Yasser Sema explained that the committee will now consult with leaders and engage in further discussions in the plenary to finalize the list of proposed holidays.
To declare any regional and local special holiday within the region, an official proclamation from the Chief Minister will be required, as stated in the bill. It will ensure that the process remains regulated and adheres to the region’s specific needs and traditions.
The bill also allows for the endorsement of historical, religious, or other significant events as special holidays through a resolution passed by Parliament.

Once BTA Bill No. 192 is passed into law, the private sector and all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies of the regional government, including its constituent local government units, established and operating in the region, as well as all BARMM offices situated outside the region, will observe the designated holidays.

Atty. Dumama-Alba said that by regulating the declaration of holidays, the bill seeks to ensure that businesses, educational institutions, and other sectors can effectively plan and manage their operations.

While the Bangsamoro Labor Code is still pending enactment, the provisions of the Labor Code of the Philippines will continue to apply.

The bill will now proceed to the plenary session, where it will undergo further deliberations and possible amendments before reaching the final voting stage, according to Atty. Dumama-Alba. (LTAIS-Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division)

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