Thursday, April 5, 2007

Partido ng Manggagawa Party List

[Workers Party – Philippines]


The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) is the only labor-based party-list group in the House of Representatives. Its votes in the 2001 and 2004 elections - 260,000 votes and 450,000 votes respectively - far exceed that of other organizations that claim to represent the working class.

PM combines work inside Congress and mobilization outside parliament to defend and advance the rights and welfare of the workers who are the majority of Filipinos today. In the age of globalization, the workers endure low wages, insecure employment, widesprea
d layoff, high prices and inadequate social services. There is thus a categorical imperative to protect labor rights and workers interests and that is the paramount objective of PM as the political party of the Filipino working class.

If Philippine democracy is not just a formality but has substance, then the workers who are the majority must be represented in Congress. PM is the voice and conscience of the Filipino working class whether they are the factory workers or the office employees, the farm workers in the countryside or the millions of the urban poor.

In recent years, PM is best known for tirelessly pushing for the P125 legislated wage increase. The choreography between work inside parliament and mobilization in the streets is the secret behind the advance of the P125 wage hike from seemingly an impossible mission to a realistic possibility.

Complementary to campaigning for workers' issues, PM has also fought for concerns of other sectors. PM was instrumental in the civil society group called Task Force Subic Rape Case that successfully sought justice for the rape victim known as Nicole. PM joined the Filipino people in celebrating the first conviction of a US soldier guilty of crimes and in condemning the transfer of jurisdiction back to American hands.

PM was a petitioner to the Supreme Court case alleging irregularities in the midnight approval of the anti-poor 10% VAT on additional products. The also group backed some 60,000 teachers in their appeal to the Supreme Court for the release of their cost of living allowances.

Its incumbent representative in Congress is Renato “Ka Rene” Magtubo who is the union president of Fortune Tobacco that is owned by the second richest Filipino today, Lucio Tan. He was called by the media as a maverick for resolutely fighting for workers demands in a Congress that is packed with representatives of the rich and powerful, and for exposing in 2001 the payola given to solons for supporting the privatization of the power industry that is the cause of the high cost of electricity.

PM has some 100,000 card-carrying members from as far north as the Mountain Province and as down south as Basilan. The reach and influence of PM however is double or triple that number through its fraternal relations with more than 400 labor unions and hundreds of urban poor groups.

The organized base of PM is firmly established in the NCR and Calabarzon area where the workers and the poor are heavily concentrated. Yet PM has achieved a truly nationwide spread with chapters in Abra, Mountain Province, Benguet, Baguio, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Tacloban City, the city and province of Cebu, Bohol, Bacolod City and the whole Negros Island, the cities of Iloilo, Roxas and Passi, all the provinces of Panay Island, even in Boracay, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Norte, Lanao Note, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao City, South Cotabato and General Santos City. There is even a chapter in Hong Kong of overseas Filipino workers.

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