Makabayan now endorses for senate labor leaders De Guzman, Matula

Mara Cepeda
Makabayan now endorses for senate labor leaders De Guzman, Matula
Labor leaders Leody de Guzman and Sonny Matula join the 9 other senatorial bets – who are either from Otso Diretso or are reelectionists – whom Makabayan earlier endorsed

MANILA, Philippines – The progressive group Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan) is endorsing two more senatorial candidates: labor leaders Leody de Guzman and Sonny Matula

The Makabayan Coalition endorsed De Guzman and Matula in a ceremony held at the Quezon City Sports Club on Thursday, March 14.

This means De Guzman and Matula now join the 9 other senatorial candidates – most of whom are either part of the Otso Diretso ticket or are reelectionists – whom Makabayan previously endorsed.

De Guzman earlier said he was slightly disappointed when Makabayan initially snubbed him, but he and Matula said they respected the group’s decision not to endorse them at the time. 

In a statement, Makabayan said they are adding De Guzman and Matula in the list of senatorial bets they are supporting in May because of the their commitment to protect the rights of Filipino laborers. (READ: Can progressives win Senate seats?

De Guzman is from the Partido Lakas ng Masa while Matula is part of the Federation of Free Workers. (READ: Labor Senate bets: We have ‘real credentials’ to push for pro-poor policies

“Ang dalawang batikang unyonistang ito ay subok na sa pagtatanggol at paggigiit sa karapatan ng mga manggagawa at sa kilusang unyon. Kasama natin sila sa pagsisikap na makamit ang nakabubuhay na sahod at benepisyo ng mga manggagawa,” said Makabayan.

(These two veteran unionists have been tried and tested in their advocacy to fight for the rights of workers and unions. We are with them in working towards a living wage and benefits for laborers.)

Among the Makabayan leaders present were its president and former Bayan Muna congressman Satur Ocampo, secretary general Nathanael Santiago, Makabayan senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares, Alliance of Concerned Teachers Representatives France Castro and Antonio Tinio, and Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate.

Makabayan said they plan to work with all 11 candidates on the following issues:

  • Suspend or repeal the excise tax provisions under the The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law
  • Ensure job security and raise the salaries of laborers and farmers
  • Oppose charter change
  • Uphold the rights of women, human rights, and due process for all
  • Uphold the country’s sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea
  • Continue the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines

“Umaasa kaming sa pamamagitan ng pag-endorsong ito, makakaambag ang Makabayan sa pag-usbong ng isang koalisyon ng mga kandidato mula sa hanay ng mga independent at oposisyon na makapagbibigay sa ating mamamayan ng pag-asang maitaguyod ang isang Senadong malaya at para sa bayan,” said Makabayan.

(We hope that through this endorsment, Makabayan will be able to do its share in developing a coalition of candidates from the independents and the opposition that would give our people the chance to hope for a independent Senate dedicated to the country.) –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.