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FFW National Convention calls for decent work, green jobs
June 24, 2011

The Federation of Free Workers (FFW) successfully held its 23rd National Convention in Baguio City this week with a strong resolve to "scale up social movement unionism through green jobs and decent work."

The FFW National Convention, held once every five years, gathered in the city of flowers some 200 delegates from FFW member trade unions and sectoral organizations across the country.

The highest policy making body of the labor federation also affirmed its critical support for the "Labor and Employment Plan" (LEP), which is anchored on decent work. The LEP, crafted by the Department of Labor and Employment with the help of the FFW and other social partners, is a supplement to the "Philippine Development Plan," the blueprint for inclusive growth in the country for the next five years.

New leaders elected

Meanwhile, the FFW National Convention also elected and formed its new set of officers.

Elected National President was Atty. Jose Sonny Matula, chief of the FFW Legal Center who served as National Vice President.

Erstwhile National President Atty. Allan S. Montaño, decided not to pursue his candidacy paving the way for the assumption of Matula.

"To preserve unity in the Federation of Free Workers and to build further respect, I would no longer pursue my candidacy for the position of National President," Montaño said.

Matula and the rest of the National Convention "acknowledged the sacrifice made by Montaño" and mandated the latter to build on the gains that the FFW has made over the last five years, especially at the international trade union movement level.

The National Convention conferred to Montaño the title "President Emeritus" and named him "International Secretary" of the Federation of Free Workers.

The resolution of the FFW National Convention would enable Montaño to devote more time to live up to the FFW's international commitments such as those with the International Labor Organization (ILO), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the Asian Labor Network on IFIs (ALNI) and other important local tripartite and multipartite bodies that the FFW leads or where it is represented.

Elected FFW National Vice President was Rodrigo Catindig, trade union leader, educator and organizer for more than two decades. Together with the newly-elected Board Members-at-Large and Trade Federation Presidents, the new set of FFW officers will serve a term of five years.

Focus on organizing

"We will make organizing one of our primary programs; 90% of the workforce is not unionized so we consider that 90% an opportunity to organize," Matula said in a speech following his proclamation.

"We will lead trade union alliances and deepen our solidarity with other workers' groups," he added.

Matula is also bent on active tripartism.

"We will not shy away from engaging government and the business sector. FFW will remain active in participating in tripartite discussions and in making tripartite policies," he said.

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