“Don’t rush. Take your time.” This piece of advice has remained relevant for generations. It’s utilized in most aspects of life, but is arguably most synonymous with students. We’re taught not to rush tests, projects, research assignments, theses, and basically everything that we’re expected to do. Despite most students taking this advice to heart, what would happen if something that was beyond our control was suddenly rushed, disrupting our schedules and plans?
On Thursday, February 23, 2023, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. issued Proclamation No. 167, which declares Friday, February 24, 2023, as a special non-working holiday. “The Department of Labor and Employment is hereby directed to issue the appropriate circular to implement this Proclamation for the private sector,” it states.
This was met with mixed reactions. It certainly was a surprise, and a welcome one at that, but many students and workers lamented the inconvenience of the last-minute holiday. Deadlines and tests were pushed back and condensed for the following week, creating greater stress as midterms draw closer, as one student from the University of Santo Tomas states.
Contrary to popular misconceptions, some students actually look forward to their classes. Many are in fact frustrated that classes will be postponed until next week due to the sudden announcement of a holiday on February 25. “I was looking forward to class,” says Antonio Delicana, a student at Silliman University. “Especially our Community Engagement, but slay, free time!”
Many people were surprised by the decision to declare February 24 a holiday because of the history of the EDSA People Power Revolution. From February 22 to February 26, 1986, a massive movement of over two million Filipinos led by oppositionists to then-dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. formed in Metro Manila, eventually ousting the former head of state. Since 2010, the People Power Revolution has been a school holiday.
A statement from Malacañang Palace clarifying that February 25 will no longer be a holiday following President Marcos’ declaration to turn February 24 into a special non-working holiday seems to fuel many critics’ suspicions of the Marcos family’s campaign of historical revisionism. Some believe that Marcos is removing the significance of the holiday without removing the holiday itself so as not to arouse public outrage.
The general public is indeed grateful for an unexpectedly long weekend. However, the general comment is that the decision should have been announced sooner. Schedules and plans were suddenly halted and disrupted due to the abruptness and impulsiveness of the proclamation. This demonstrates the Marcos administration’s inefficiency and callous disregard for ordinary people’s lives.
In theory, a holiday, even when announced so late, is relatively harmless. However, in reality, it creates more problems than it actually solves. Some would assume that students’ mental health would improve because there is no class, but on the contrary, many are stressed out over the delay that the last-minute holiday declaration caused. Not all schools and levels have transitioned back to full face-to-face classes. This is especially inconvenient for those who were supposed to have limited face-to-face classes on Friday, as lectures, tests, and reports will be postponed amidst time constraints.
This blunder is relatively minor compared to the many shortcomings of the current administration. That does not mean they cannot learn from their mistakes. Taking into consideration all the possible outcomes and consequences of their actions, they can certainly use this as a chance to improve their foresight when it comes to planning something that could disrupt everyone’s daily activities. Next time government officials decide to do something like this, they ought to remember that they’re not the only ones affected by what they do.