Free Workers press for party-list accreditation
January 19, 2010

Hundreds of members of the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) trooped to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to pressure the poll body to act on its petition for accreditation in the party-list elections this May.

“We are exercising our democratic right to air our grievance so that we can exercise our collective right to be represented,” said Allan Montano, national president of the FFW.

“Our members are deeply concerned over the COMELEC’s seeming inaction on our petition for accreditation. They were surprised that the FFW was excluded in the COMELEC’s list of party-list organizations allowed to participate in this year’s elections despite having timely filed said petition,” added Montaño.

The FFW filed with the COMELEC’s Second Division on Monday a “Respectful Urgent Motion to Resolve the Petition for Registration and Accreditation” of the labor group.

“We are exhausting all legal remedies to save our participation in the party-list elections that’s why we filed this urgent motion,” said Montaño.

The FFW, which has historical ties with the Catholic church is running under a pro-labor platform that advocates decent work.

FFW did its homework

Through Resolution No. 8744 released last Friday, the Comelec en banc gave the go-signal to 144 out of the more than 300 party-list groups that filed their manifestations of intent to participate in the coming elections.The FFW maintains that its 150,000 members across the nation has the capacity to wage a grass roots-based national campaign.

COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez said last Friday that they believe that they already have the final list of candidates. “We have already done our part, and we would not sacrifice the conduct of orderly elections just for one or two groups who did not do theirs… Remember, the right to be elected is not an absolute right," he said.

The FFW took offense on this statement since it believes it did its homework by “filing its petition for accreditation ahead of time, completing the requirements, attending the hearing on the petition and satisfactorily answering the questions raised by the COMELEC.”

National and international recognition

Montaño said that the FFW is not lacking in recognition, even by government agencies. “The Philippine government through the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has continually recognized the FFW since 1950, as a responsible trade union and tripartite partner,” he said.

He also highlighted that the FFW has garnered recognition in the international arena. “The International Labour Organization (ILO) and other UN agencies have recognized the FFW as workers’ representative,” he asserted. Leaders of the FFW have consistently joined the Philippine delegation to the International Labour Conference held each year in Geneva.

“While we have represented workers in various forums at various levels, we lack participation in law making processes. Thus, the pressing need to participate in the party-list elections,” Montaño concluded.

Free Workers press for party-list accreditation Free Workers press for party-list accreditation
Members of the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) hold a mass action in front of the COMELEC office to pressure the labor group's accreditation for the party-list elections this May


Trade Federation
Trade Federation
Trade Federation
Trade Federation
Trade Federation
Trade Federation
Trade Federation
Trade Federation