- National chairperson of Kilusang Mayo Uno, from 2003 to present
- President of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (Philippines), 2011 to present
Elmer Labog, 66, is a veteran labor organizer and trade union activist and first-time candidate. He is the national chairperson of the Kilusang Mayo Uno, the largest trade union in the Philippines and a self-described independent labor center promoting genuine, militant and patriotic trade unionism.
His four decade-long work as an activist began during Martial Law when he joined the Samahang Demokratikong Kabataan, the Student Catholic Action and, later, KMU. Labog and KMU have been active in protesting insufficient wage rates and other violations of labor rights, violence against workers and labor leaders, and the impact of certain laws such as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act on the consuming power of ordinary citizens.
Labog is running under the Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan) bloc, composed of socio-civic party-lists including Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, ACT Teachers and Kabataan. He seeks to transform from resource person to lawmaker in the Senate, where he vows to advocate for the interest of farmers and workers, a higher and liveable wage and housing.
Citing the ever-rising cost of basic goods and fuel, Labog called on President Rodrigo Duterte to flex his supermajority support in Congress, previously used to pass the Anti-Terrorism Act, the TRAIN Law, the CREATE Law and the denial of ABS-CBN’s franchise, and call for a special session of Congress and pass the P750 national minimum wage bill. Alternatively, Labog urged the president to order, through Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the immediate approval of all wage hike petitions filed in the regional wage boards.
He supports granting public access to public officials' wealth declarations, banning endo contractualization, abolishing the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, renewing ABS-CBN's franchise and the passage of the Anti-Balimbing Bill which would penalize politicians who constantly switch parties. He opposes charter change, the anti-terror law, abortion, and lowering the corporate income tax.
Labog has been included in the senatorial slate of labor leader Leody de Guzman, Senator Manny Pacquiao, and the opposition 1Sambayan coalition.
The candidate's top priorities if elected to office, tracked against previous promises and accomplishments, if any
- Provide higher wages for workers and enact a P750 national minimum wage, to address rising prices of goods and services and the wage disparity from one region to another
- End endo or contractualization, which is used by employers to escape accountability from workers and justify low wages in violation of the right to job security
- Strengthen the protection for workers’ health and security, even during the ongoing pandemic
- Creation of a pension fund, funded by the government instead of the current benefits system under the Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance System that draws funding from workers’ pockets
- Junk “no vax, no work” or “no vax, no pay” schemes that make employment harder for common workers
As a labor leader, has repeatedly petitioned for and participated in protest actions calling for wage hikes, improved workers’ benefits and workplace protections
Provide funding to small and medium enterprises affected by COVID-19 closures
- Provide health and security assistance to workers even beyond COVID-19
- Implement a comprehensive and human pandemic response
Prioritize bill against red-tagging
- Increase productivity and modernize the agricultural sector
- Implementation of genuine land reform and redistribution
The candidate's top five accomplishments and contributions for the last 15 years or so
Labog started as a student activist, belonging to Student Catholic Action (1972 to 1973) and Samahang Demokratikong Kabataan (1972). His early employment in the service industry also inspired his activism for labor organizing, eventually becoming an officer of the National Union of Workers in Hotel, Restaurant and Allied Industries (1977) and the Genuine Labor Organization in Hotel, Restaurant and Allied Industries (1986).
Labog joined KMU as a full-time organizer in 1982, and served various leadership positions before becoming national chairperson of KMU in 2003.
As head of the largest trade union in the country, Labog leads efforts to promote and protect workers’ rights such as a living wage, safe working conditions, security of tenure and collective bargaining rights. He has organized and joined protests actions including mobilizations about violence and abuses against workers, labor organizers, activists as well as pursued institutional recourse to effect regional wage increases. He has also been a frequent resource person on workers’ rights and labor organizing for private and public bodies including both chambers of Congress. KMU and other labor groups also agitate against the impact of laws, such as the TRAIN Law and R.A. No. 11203 (or the Rice Tariffication Law), on the daily lives of ordinary consumers.
KMU, under his leadership, has also filed various petitions contesting the constitutionality of the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the United States and the Philippines; R. A. No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012; Republic Act No. 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007; PhilHealth Circular Nos. 0027, 0025,and 0024, all series of 2013, which adjusted the premium contribution rates for the National Health Insurance Program; Batas Pambansa No. 880 and the policy of “Calibrated Preemptive Response” and R.A. No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act.
- Has represented KMU and the pro-labor sector in negotiations with government employment bodies at the national and local level, such as the labor department and regional wage boards
- Has appeared before both chambers of Congress to advocate for workers’ welfare and collective bargaining rights
- Since 1983, has represented KMU at international conferences held in Japan, Thailand, Australia, Yugoslavia, Taiwan, Libya, India, South Korea, Turkey, South Africa, Canada and the United States, and was the head of the labor delegation for the 2016 International Labor Organization
Actions and/or proceedings pending against or resolved in courts or tribunals involving the candidate, based on publicly available information
Also known as SALN, this document is a declaration of one's personal finances. Philippine Law requires the SALN to be submitted by all public officials and employees to the Ombudsman. Public officials and employees may opt to voluntarily disclose their SALN to the public.
Key details about the candidate's campaign
- Included in the senatorial slate of the Leody de Guzman-Walden Bello tandem
- Included in the senatorial slate of 1Sambayan coalition
- Guest candidate of the Manny Pacquiao-Lito Atienza tandem
Candidate's major donors and campaign funding sources
The candidate's top advocacies in the last 15 years or so
Supports the following proposed legislation:
- SOGIE Equality bill
- Magna Carta of Commuters
- Program for national housing development
- Reissuance of ABS-CBN franchise
- Decriminalization of libel
Status: In its 2022 report on the application of international labour standards, among other findings and recommendations, the Committee on Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations of the ILO noted certain observations of the International Trade Union Confederation received in September 2021, including:
- On freedom of association and protection of the right to organize, “denouncing the deteriorating situation in the country and requesting the Committee to consider an out-of-cycle review of the application of the Convention by the Philippines.”
The Committee Committee called on the Philippine government to prepare a plan of action, in consultation with the social partners, detailing progressive steps to be taken to implement the conclusions of the 2019 Conference Committee and to achieve full compliance with the Convention
- On civil liberties and trade union rights, “increased repression against the independent trade union movement and extreme violence against and persecution of unionists, including extrajudicial killings, physical attacks, red-tagging, threats, intimidation, harassment, stigmatization, illegal arrests, arbitrary detention and raiding of homes and union offices, as well as the Government’s institutional failure to address these issues, exacerbating the culture of impunity.” Also noted was the “adoption of additional measures, allegedly worsening the situation of trade unions in the country, including: the establishment of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC); the creation of the Joint Industrial Peace and Concern Office (now referred to as the Alliance for Industrial Peace and Program Office (AIPPO)) in export-processing zones; the adoption of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2020; and abuse in the use of judicial search warrants”.
The Committee urged the Philippine government to take all necessary measures to address the issues of violence and intimidation raised and, in particular, to conduct prompt and effective investigations into all allegations of extrajudicial killings of and assaults against trade unionists, so as to determine the circumstances of the incidents, including any links to trade union activities, determine culpability and punish the perpetrators; detailed information on such matters was also requested.
- The national government to impose a two-day paid vaccination leave for blue-collar, daily wage and contractual workers
- The exemption of workers from the so-called “no vaccine, no ride” policy
- The government to ensure immediate aid and relief to overseas Filipino workers, particularly in Hong Kong, who after testing positive for COVID-19 were terminated by employers and forced to live in the streets. He called for assistance to such OFWs such as free testing, provision of isolation centers, free medicine and treatment, ayuda, unemployment benefits, free repatriation or help to seek replacement jobs.
- Genuine advancement and improvement of Filipino citizens
- Human rights, justice and democracy
- Eradication of corruption and promotion of good governance
- Electoral reform
- National interest and sovereignty
- Pursuit of peace talks
Basic information on the candidate's family, background and work experience
B.S. Biology, University of the Philippines-Diliman
Kilusang Mayo Uno:
- National chairperson, 2003-present
- Secretary-General, 1994-2003
- Deputy Secretary-General, 1986
- Secretary for Socio-Economic and Cooperative Development, 1984
- Union organizer, 1982
Vice chair, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan
President/Chairman, International League of Peoples’ Struggle (Philippines), 2011-present