May 3 a regular holiday to mark end of Ramadan

PHILIPPINE STAR/ WALTER BOLLOZOS

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday declared May 3 a regular holiday to mark the end of Ramadan. 

In a proclamation, Mr. Duterte said the holiday had been recommended by the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos.

Mr. Duterte made the declaration just a day after the Islamic religious authority in the Bangsamoro region recommended to the National Government that the Eid’l Fitrholiday be set for May 2. 

Late holiday announcements could affect business preparations, said John Paolo R. Rivera, an economist at the Asian Institute of Management.

“Some organizations have already anticipated the announcement, pushing them to make plans in advance despite the lack of an official announcement,” he said in a Viber message.   

“Late declarations have been an issue since the pandemic,” Mr. Rivera said.  “Organizations should have learned contingency planning because we know how disruptive late announcements are.” 

Michael L. Ricafort, chief economist at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., said holidays should be announced early so businesses could prepare properly.

“It would definitely help businesses and other institutions to prepare their respective operations and prevent any potential disruptions,” he said in a Viber message. “It is a delicate balancing act for the economy.”

Eid’l Fitr, a significant occasion in Islam, is observed by Muslims for one to three days after a month-long fasting, which some economists say cuts economic output in some countries.

A 2014 report by the US-based National Bureau of Economic Research said Ramadan “showed causal evidence of an effect of Ramadan fasting on labor market status.”

Longer Ramadan fasting has a “robust negative effect” on output growth in Muslim countries, according to the study, which used data from Muslims fasting in 167 countries over 60 years. It said lengthening the fast by a single hour could reduce economic growth by 0.7 percentage points.

On the other hand, Ramadan was “accompanied by an increase in the levels of self-reported happiness and life satisfaction among Muslims.”

“In general, holidays and special days of celebration should boost consumer spending,” Emy Ruth Gianan, who teaches economics at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, said in a Facebook Messenger chat.

“We usually save up some money to fulfill traditions and in the case of our Muslim brothers and sisters, they decorate their homes, prepare sumptuous meals and share gifts.”

Alile Hissah, a 24-year-old Muslim Filipino, said Muslims usually prepare festive meals and share these with relatives and neighbors — Kyle Aristophere Atienza

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