President Rodrigo Duterte signed a law declaring December 8 as a nationwide special non-working holiday to commemorate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
He signed the bill into law as Republic Act No. 10966 on December 23.
Catholic schools used to suspend classes every December 8 in observance of the said feast.
The House of Representatives passed the law on May 2 and the Senate on December 11.
Catholic bishops praised Duterte for the move.
“That is indeed a very good and inspiring news. With this Christmas season it is a beautiful and lasting gift of our country to our Blessed Mother,” said Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos in a GMA News report.
“We Filipinos are very motherly, maka-ina. It is our nature to go to our mothers in any aspects of our life, to stay with and support our mothers, to take care our mothers,” he added.
Another bishop noted how Duterte still has “respect” for the Catholic Church for passing the law.
“After all, Duterte has still some respect for the Catholic Church. His mother was a devout Catholic, and he loves his Mama very much,” said Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes.
He also described it as “wonderful” and “a pleasant surprise.”
The act was authored by Majority Floor Leder Rodolfo Farinas, one of Duterte’s allies.