December 8 declared a special non-working holiday for Catholic feast

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The Visita Iglesia remains an important part of Filipino's Holy Week traditions.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 29) — Classes and work are to be suspended yearly on December 8 after President Rodrigo Duterte signed a law declaring it a special non-working holiday for a Catholic feast.

Duterte on Thursday inked Republic Act no. 10966, "An act declaring December 8 of every year a special non-working holiday in the entire country to commemorate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary."

A copy of the law was released to the media on Friday. It was earlier passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on May 2 and December 11, respectively.

Employees who work on special non-working days are paid at least 130 percent of the sum of their daily rate and cost of living allowance. Employees who do not work will not be paid, unless there is a favorable company policy.

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated by many Filipinos in this predominantly Catholic country.

The Catholic Church urges its members to attend mass every December 8 to celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, "a time to celebrate the great joy of God's gift to humanity in Mary."

Prior to the signing of the law, some schools suspended classes and work last December 8 in observance of the feast.

The law takes effect 15 days after its publication on the Official Gazette, the government's official website.