House approves bill to make December 8 a holiday

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Altarpiece of the Manila Cathedral, whose formal name is the Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, located in Intramuros, Manila. Image Credit: xiquinhosilva/CC BY Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill that seeks to declare December 8 of every year a special non-working national holiday to celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

If approved by the Senate and signed by President Rodrigo Duterte into law, the measure would add another day to the many holidays and special non-working days the nation has in one year.

Majority leader Rodolfo Fariñas (Ilocos Norte) authored the December 8 non-working day bill.

He clarified that December 8 is not yet a holiday, as his measure still has to be approved by the Senate and signed into law by the president.

Day of obligation

The Philippines being predominantly Catholic, many Filipinos celebrate the Feast of Immaculate Conception of Mary.

The Catholic Church considers the feast a “day of obligation,” requiring Catholics to participate in Mass. Besides December 8, other days of obligations are all Sundays of the year, January 1 (Feast of Mary, the Mother of God), August 15 (Assumption of Mary), November 1 (All Saints’ Day) and December 25 (Christmas Day).

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