‘In the spirit of love’: House ends plenary session earlier than usual on Valentine’s Day

February 15, 2023 - 2:16 PM
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Plenary session-feb-2023
Deputy Speaker Isidro Ungab presiding over a plenary session of the House of Representatives on Feb. 14, 2023 (Screengrab by Interaksyon from House of Representatives/YouTube)

A regular session at the House of Representatives was adjourned earlier than usual “in the spirit of Valentine and in the spirit of love” on Tuesday.

Deputy Speaker Isidro Ungab (Davao, Third District) presided over the 52nd regular session of the 19th Congress on February 14, which started from 3 p.m. until 3:55 p.m.

During the session, the lawmakers adopted a House resolution expressing sympathies for the casualties of high-magnitude earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

They also adopted another resolution commending and congratulating pole vault star EJ Obiena for winning two gold medals in the Perche en Or, the 2023 Orlen Cup, and the bronze medal in the 2023 Mondo Classic.

The lawmakers likewise adopted a House resolution expressing deep sympathies to the family of former trade and commerce minister Bobby Ongpin who passed away this month.

By 3:55 p.m., Rep. Jay Jay Suarez (Quezon, Second District) proposed to move to adjourn the session.

“Mr. Speaker, in the spirit of Valentine and in the spirit of love, I move that we adjourn session for today and resume tomorrow, February 15 at three o’ clock in the afternoon. So moved, Mr. Speaker,” he said.

Some claps were heard in the background following his declaration.

“Is there any objection? If there’s none, the session is adjourned until three o’ clock in the afternoon tomorrow, February 15, 2023. Happy Valentine,” Ungab said.

A clip of the moment was shared on social media, where it was reported that the session was adjourned “barely an hour” after starting at 3 p.m.

It caught the attention of some Filipinos who were displeased by the early adjournment. Plenary sessions usually last for hours.

“Swerte [niyo] naman, nag-e-end work [niyo] early kasi Valentine’s. As a taxpayer, I had calls from 2-5 p.m. and 8-11 p.m. last night. Now tell me, am I getting my money’s worth from you all?” a Twitter user wrote in response to the clip.

“This, while the rest of the country [continues] to work on a fixed 8-hour work. Haha! Galing, galing,” another online user commented.

“Kami nga nag-OT [kahapon],” wrote a different Pinoy on Wednesday. “OT” refers to overtime or when workers extend their regular shift beyond the hours needed.

Valentine’s Day, despite being one of the most popular celebrations in the country, is not an official public holiday.

It also fell on a weekday in 2023, which meant it was a regular working day for the masses.

On the day itself, the National Wages and Productivity Commission aired a reminder to Filipinos that it was “not a holiday.”

Despite being a working day, Valentine’s Day continues to be celebrated spectacularly by Filipinos.

Airbnb previously said that the Philippines has one of the highest proportions of couples who travel together for the occasion.

It added that the Southeast Asian country is one of the platform’s “most romantic destinations around the world.”

As early as last week, vendors in Quaipo also reported a rise in the demand for love potions or “gayuma” as the Day of Hearts approached.