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Philippines – Holidays and their impact on business

The Philippines is widely known to have a generous number of holidays in a given year. It is the extended, successive holiday that mainly poses a significant effect on various businesses. While holidays are generally renowned for their ability to make people spend more and therefore increase revenues, not all businesses view holidays as positively.

For Destination Service Providers, the impact is clearly evident in various delays encountered by relocation and immigration teams in their daily operations between global management companies and the assignees.

Philippine Immigrations; Customs and other Government Offices – The processing of visas, permits, licenses, approvals; authorizations are placed on hold. Customs release of shipments is postponed. This inevitably creates a backlog. Actual government services and processes decelerate during the week of Easter (in April for 2017) and also in the onset of December.  Whether it be holiday mood, or an increased number of staff on annual leave, activities always slow down and effectiveness decreases. Filing of applications is best planned and arranged either in advance of holidays or right after.

Availability of Property Owners/ Landlords – Majority of owners of the prime properties preferred by expatriates commonly plan their vacations during successive holidays and make use of long weekends to be abroad often times for several weeks.  This is most noticeable in December when they only return to Manila in late January or early February. Delays in negotiations and in contract preparation are unfortunately inevitable.  Signatories are simply unavailable. Major maintenance requirements become a huge challenge due to absent landlords.

DSPs – Timing and planning the travel of potential and incoming assignees to Metro Manila is especially crucial. Relocation and Immigration Teams do all possible to complete requirements of new initiations prior to a successive national holiday period or a long-weekend. Notably, the end of the year usually has the longest set of successive non-working holidays. In this instance, the cut-off for immigration services of new initiations is normally on the 10th of December.

Assignees On-the-Ground – Depending on respective company policy and the type of profession, some expatriates that are already well settled in the Philippines actually enjoy the numerous holidays in the Philippines. Long weekends are definitely the best time to visit places of interest.  On the other hand, assignees in the process of settling-in or those that have major maintenance issues in their units, inexorably get frustrated with the delayed response or prolonged action of vacationing landlords or out-of-office government agencies.  In this regard, awareness of Philippine holidays is an important element in their orientation to the country.

Philippine Holidays for 2017:

Regular Holidays – These are yearly National Holidays defined by Congress.

Philippines Holidays 2017

Special Non-working Holidays – These are national days of observance established in advance by December of the previous year.

Philippines Non-working Holidays 2017

Other Special Non-working Holidays applicable only by Presidential Proclamation – These are also national days of observance that are only declared as non-working holidays upon the discretion of the President. Dissemination to media is only prompted approximately 1 or 2 days prior to the actual date.
Day after New Year’s Day – January 2
Id-ul-Adha (Festival of  Sacrifice) – (mutable, usually in July or August)
Eid’l Adha (Festival of Breaking Fast) – (mutable, usually in August or September)
All Soul’s Day – November 2
Christmas Eve – December 24
Day after Christmas – December 26

All in all, businesses view the influence of excessive holidays on the Philippine economy as rather disruptive to forward progress. On the other hand, in the view of the average employee, holidays promote their well-being, thereby becoming a source of motivation. In this sense, we can expect the influences of Philippine Holidays to always have its advantages and disadvantages.