Philippine Senate approves bill for National Bible Day

The Philippine Senate has signed a bill tabled by Christian boxing champion, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, which will designate every last Monday of January as the country's National Bible Day.

(REUTERS / Lucy Nicholson)USA Boxing - Manny Pacquiao & Jessie Vargas - Head-to-Head Press Conference - Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills - 8/9/16 Manny Pacquiao during the press conference.

Sen. Pacquiao explained that the observance of a National Bible Day would allow Christians to celebrate their faith and reflect on the teachings of the Holy Bible. The Senate approval for the bill came a year after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared that January was the country's National Bible Month and that the last week of the month is National Bible Week, UCA News reported.

"Let us [use] this opportunity to spiritually empower the Filipino people to open their hearts for utmost nation-building, unity and solidarity," said Pacquaio on Feb. 5.

The National Bible Day bill was approved without opposition. In fact, another Christian senator named Joel Villanueva expressed support for the measure, saying the Holy Book serves as their guidance in their daily lives.

Sen. Pacquiao, on the other hand, said observing National Bible Day will help build the Filipino people's "moral character and spiritual foundation." He said this holiday will result in a better Philippines which will have "God-centered governance and people-centered services."

Meanwhile, Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes lauded the Senate's decision to approve the bill for National Bible Day. He praised God for the lawmaker's initiative to establish a day for the official observance of the holiday, the Philippine Canadian Inquirer reported.

"Very nice move of the Senate. The whole month of January had been declared as National Bible Month. All Christians in the Philippines are celebrating every year the National Bible Week during the last week of January — from Monday to the last Sunday of January," said Bishop Bastes. "Now Congress is crafting a law to make the last Monday of January the official National Bible Day. Praise the Lord! To God be the glory!"

Under Senate Bill 1270, the National Bible Day will be a special working holiday for the Philippines.