Duterte declares Feb. 22 a special non-working holiday in Taytay

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has issued a presidential proclamation declaring February 22, 2021 as a special non-working holiday in the Municipality of Taytay in Rizal Province.

In issuing Proclamation 1100, Duterte declared Monday, February 22 a special day as the town culminates the 46th Hamaka Festival, an annual week-long festivity recognizing the working class behind Taytay’s major industries, such as woodwork and garments.

In a one-page document signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, the President finds it “but fitting and proper that the people of the Municipality of Taytay be given full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies, subject to community quarantine, social distancing and other public health measures.”

In a statement, Taytay Mayor Joric Gacula assured Malacañang that the local government has put in place stringent measures seen to guarantee that this year’s Hamaka Festival would not be a breeding ground for infection amid the continuing threat of the global pandemic.

In the conduct of their 46th Hamaka Festival, Gacula said that the local government is bent on keeping a tradition seen to recognize the contributions of the local industry, for which the town is known for.

However, far from the previous festivals which drew thousands of tourists, this year’s Hamaka festivity would be held on cyberspace or online.

In a social media post, Taytay Mayor Joric Gacula said that the local government underscored the need to sustain the tradition in recognition of the local workers behind woodwork and garments, the two industries that put Taytay on the list of the country’s progressive municipalities.

“We are very much inclined on keeping the tradition, except that this year, festivities have been limited to the online platform,” said Gacula, who cited the need to balance economy and health amid the continuing global pandemic scare.

Held every third week of February, this year’s Hamaka Festival has already commenced usual activities virtually, such as Araw ng Pasasalamat, Handog Hamaka, Spoken Word Poetry, Taytay Idol, Infomercial Competition, Taytay Fashion Designers Contest, Battle of Impersonators, Serenata ng Bayan, Mobile Legends Tournament, and the Taytayenews Raffle Draw.

“Our garment industry needs all the support it can get from the local government, and that is exactly what we’ve been doing since the onset of the global pandemic early last year. We are taking this year’s Hamaka Festival to showcase our garment industry, which showed flexibility even under extreme conditions,” added Gacula, in an apparent reference to the local production of fashionable face masks and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Interestingly, Taytay, known for mass production of quality but affordable clothes, also produces and supplies a huge chunk of the demand for reusable face masks and PPEs across the archipelago.

Hamaka, coined from the words Hamba, representing the woodwork industry, Makina representing the garments industry, and Kabuhayan which translates the first two into livelihood.

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