Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

4-DAY WORK WEEK IS FAMILY-FRIENDLY

Senator Gordon today expressed support to Malacañang’s proposed four-day working week for all government employees during summer as he disclosed that the new schedule will bond together Filipino families and would not only save the government and the private sector substantial amounts from the payment of electricity and water bills but will also boost the local tourism industry.

“The summer months of April and May are the months when schools are closed, and families would like to take vacations together in provincial and rural areas, beaches and rustic places. The three-day weekend would enable them to enjoy the summer, savor the refreshing breezes in the countryside, shorelines, hills and mountains and lakes and parks of which our country is blessed with so many,” said Gordon.

During his stint as Tourism Secretary, Gordon initiated the “Holiday Economics” or the four-day working week to enable government employees and their families to visit tourism spots on leisurely vacation trips or engage in entrepreneurial activities, thus boosting the domestic tourist industry.

“The long weekend provided Filipinos the chance to bond with their families and earn extra income by taking another job or by selling food refreshments and souvenir products,” Gordon added.

Tourism operators and travel agencies reported increased domestic tourism and revenues at that time as most urban folk wanted to escape the summer heat by visiting the countryside on their three-day weekend to explore scenic spots or even by just staying at home and spending time at parks, museums or just enjoy the air conditioning in the malls.

Gordon also encouraged the LGUs and local tourism councils of the most frequented places in the country to promote the “Home Stay Program” for tourists. Under the said project, families can open their homes to visitors and tourists, in effect facilitating real cultural exchange and interaction while generating additional income for the host families.

Department of Finance officials said the program would also boost the economy as spending in the countryside and tourist spots would create more employment and business activity.
Gordon recalled that there was a time up to the ‘60s that private and government employees enjoyed a half-day work schedule during the summer to escape the heat. But this practice was stopped on the claim that most offices anyway are air-conditioned. Now, however, he observed, the people needed to save on the costs of energy because of the high cost of fuel, but at the same time the economy needed to be boosted through increased domestic tourism

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