MANILA, Philippines – For a Senate that would champion workers’ rights, labor group Defend Job Philippines on Tuesday, April 30, endorsed all 5 senatorial candidates of the Labor Win coalition and 4 others from the opposition slate Otso Diretso.
Defend Job Philippines spokesperson Christian Magsoy announced the group’s picks in a press conference on the eve of Labor Day, saying that the 9 candidates have consistently campaigned for a labor agenda.
“Palagi-laging ginagamit o ginagawang plataporma ‘yung isyu at usapin na kinakaharap ng manggagawa….sinasabi ng lahat ng mga kandidato para manalo sa mga halalan. Pero hanggang sa kasalukuyan, nananatili mahirap ang mga manggagawang Pilipino, nananatiling mababang sahod, kontraktuwal, at siyempre walang benepisyo,” Magsoy said.
(Labor issues are always used as a campaign platform for candidates to win elections. But until now, Filipino workers remain mired in poverty, with low wages, contractualization, and no benefits.)
“Nagsasawa na po tayo sa puro pangako…. Kailangan meron tayong panghawakan sa mga tumatakbong kandidato sa pagsusulong ng interes ng uring manggagawa,”
(We’re tired of broken promises…. We want to push for candidates with concrete platforms championing the working class.)
Defend Job Philippines endorsed the following senatorial bets:
1. Ernesto Arellano – Kilusang Mayo Uno founder
2. Neri Colmenares – Makabayan’s candidate
3. Leody de Guzman – Bukluran ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino head
4. Sonny Matula – Federation of Free Workers president
5. Allan Montaño – labor lawyer
6. Chel Diokno – Otso Diretso
7. Samira Gutoc – Otso Diretso
8. Florin Hilbay – Otso Diretso
9. Erin Tañada – Otso Diretso
Five of the recommended candidates are labor leaders themselves. The 2019 elections marks the first time in recent history that a coalition of labor leaders from different organizations will be running for Senate seats. (READ: Can progressives win Senate seats?)
Meanwhile, 4 of the other recommended bets are from the 8-member Otso Diretso slate. The other 4 skipped by Defend Job Philippines in its endorsement were former interior secretary and 2016 presidential candidate Mar Roxas, election lawyer Romy Macalintal, reelectionist Senator Bam Aquino, and Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano.
Magsoy said among the criteria Defend Job Philippines used to assess all 62 candidates in the Senate race were clear platforms, clean track records, and strong commitment to push for workers’ rights.
Though all 9 endorsed bets have yet to break into the so-called Magic 12 in recent surveys, the labor group is banking on millions of Filipino voters who are part of the labor force to support these candidates.
Candidates themselves have also sought the support of labor groups to deliver a “genuine” labor vote in the May polls.
In the party-list race, the group gave its nod to Kabataan, saying that the youth group would push for better working conditions as “inheritors of society” and the “future working class.”
“It is just and rightful for us workers to support our youth in securing a congressional seat and representation in the upcoming May 2019 midterm elections to help them pave the way in enacting pro-labor legislation for their benefit and future generations,” Magsoy said.
Defend Job Philippines said it will work with all 9 senatorial candidates and Kabataan on 10 key labor issues:
- Ending contractualization
- Legislating a national minimum wage
- Affordable and low prices
- Workers’ benefits
- Occupational health and safety
- Right to self-organization
- Overseas Filipino workers and migrants’ rights
- Ending child labor
- Stopping trade union repression
- Ending “unfair” trade agreements and poverty
“With our consistent discussions with these candidates…rest assured that [they] will champion the best interests and welfare of Filipino workers once they get elected,” Magsoy said. – Rappler.com