Philippines: Press Statement of Partido Unyunista: One million signature campaign - For 30% unionized workers’ representation in Congress and local councils

An independent organization of unionized workers, the Partido Unyunista, today launches a campaign to gather at least one million signatures to press Congress to commit to a constitutional amendment that will provide thirty per cent representation for workers in both the national legislature and local government councils. The campaign will be held through an All Leaders Assembly and Press Conference at the Quezon City Hall.

“It is only a matter of time that economic crisis and political turmoil will force the Filipinos to define the basis of governance through charter change or interventions calling for military junta or another questionable people power. At this point, the workers opted to declare their rejection of any charter change or whatever change in government which will not secure the significant participation of unionized workers in legislative bodies.”, according to Mr. Rene Pansacala, spokesperson of the Partido Unyunista.

Breaking from the tradition of organizing workers within the confines of the local unions and unions’ federation, the Partido Unyunista is organizing unionized workers at the levels of municipal/city districts, provincial, and regional levels as a basis for forming its national leadership body coming from the rank-and-file laborers in the country. The new workers party starts its formation from members in the National Capital Region and in the nearby provinces of Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog regions.

“The Partido Unyunista is the first political party that can genuinely represent the unionized workers since it refuses to take sides between the pro- and anti- EDSA traditional politicians as well as rejects the practice of leftist political blocs to simply use the trade union movement as legal fronts. Our only ideology is the twin goals of attaining labor rights in relation to business and securing significant participation in governance.”, clarified Mr. ____ ______, interim chairperson of the new political group.

The one million signatures to be gathered by the campaign will be presented to the Senate and House of Representatives both of which have long been considering to jumpstart the process for amending the constitution. The Partido Unyunista seeks for the election of unionized workers’ regional representatives totaling thirty percent of the Congress membership elected from legislative districts. The new workers’ party offers to also actively campaign for the candidacy of solons who will support their agenda.

The Partido Unyunista not only rejects the continuing rule of politicians from the country’s elites but also decry that fact that the middle class personalities are passing themselves off as representatives of labor and poor sectors through the party-list system. The new party insists that its leadership body must come directly from unionists and not from middle class personalities from labor movements and cause-oriented groups.

April 24, 2005