MANILA — After his failed Senate bid in 2019, labor rights advocate Leody De Guzman filed on Wednesday his certificate of candidacy (COC) for president in the May 9, 2022 elections.
De Guzman will be running under the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) party.
“Ang aking pong kapangahasang tumakbo sa pinakamataas na posisyon ng ating bansa ay tulak ng katotohanan na ang mga nagpalit-palit na administrasyon na pinamunuan ng mga elitista ay walang ginawa na kabutihan sa mga mangagawa,” De Guzman said.
(My audacity to run for the highest position in our country is driven by the fact that the changing administrations led by the elites have done no good to the workers.)
“Kontraktwalisasyon, mababang pasahod, panunupil sa aming karapatan ang sukli sa napakahalagang papel na ginagampanan naming mga manggagawa sa lipunan. Manggagawa ang gumagawa, manggagawa ang lumilikha ng kaunlaran. Kami ang mayora ng lipunan at tapat na nagbabayad ng buwis. Subalit sa halip na dakhilain ay binubusabos at inaalisan ng karapatan,” he added.
(Contractualization, low wages, suppression of our rights are what we get for the very important role we, as workers, play in society. The worker is the maker of, we create progress. We are the majority of society and we honestly pay taxes. But instead of being praised, we are subjugated and disenfranchised.)
De Guzman promised to end the rule of the "elite" in government and change "unjust" policies against workers.
“Hindi na pwedeng magpatuloy ang ganitong kalagayan. Kailangang baguhin ang mga batas at patakaran na nagliligalisa sa pagkakamal ng yaman ng iilan, at pagpapahirap sa mga manggagawa at masa ng sambayanan,” he said.
(This situation can no longer continue. There is a need to change the laws and policies that legalize the accumulation of wealth by the few, and the oppression of workers and the masses.)
“Kinakailangang marinig ang boses ng manggagawa. Kailangang mabuo ang kapangyarihan dahil ang gobyernong ito ay atin, ang bukas ay atin. Ang kapalaran at kinabukasan ng ating bansa ay nakasalalay sa kamay ng mga manggagawa, at hindi sa kamay ng mga sikat na mga elitistang pulitiko na tayo lamang ay binobola,” he added.
(The voice of the worker must be heard. Power must be built because this government is ours, the future is ours. The fate and future of our country depend on the hands of the workers and not in the hands of the famous elitist politicians playing in circles.)
Asked if he fears running against big names for the presidency, De Guzman said he believes that the Filipinos are tired of the current state of politics and he trusts in the power of the labor force.
During the convention held by PLM, the labor rights advocate said it is important that politicians "walk the talk."
"Ramdam ko, maraming tao ang nauumay na sa pagboto sa mga sikat at mga bilyonaryong kandidato na wala namang nagagawa pagkatapos ng eleksyon. Papasayahin lang ang mga botante sa panahon ng kampanya. Pero pagkatapos ng eleksyon, hindi na pinapansin ‘yung mga taong bumoto sa kanila," he said.
(I feel like a lot of people are tired of voting for famous and billionaire candidates who do nothing after the election. They just make the voters happy during the campaign. But after the election, they don't pay attention to the people who voted for them.)
"‘Yun ang pag-asa ko, ‘yung silent majority, ‘yung manggagawa at itong mga taong unti-unti nang namumulat sa trapo at elitistang pulitika na wala namang ginagawa kundi, magpayaman nang magpayaman, nakawin ang pera ng bayan at pinapabayaan lang ang sambayanan."
(That is my hope, the silent majority, the workers, and these people who are gradually becoming aware about traditional politicians, and elitist politics that do nothing but,get richer and richer, steal the people's money, and just neglect the people.)
“Ang ibig kong sabihin, hindi lang sa salita kundi dapat sa gawa. Dapat gawin natin. Saka dapat kumilos tayo labas sa ating base. 'Yung mga hindi natin nagagawa ay gawin natin ngayon, hindi lang para ibenta si Leody. Ipaliwanag ang system change, hindi regime change,” he said after accepting his nomination.
(Politicians should fulfill what they have promised. We must act. Let us do now what we haven't accomplished. Don't just engage in a campaign. Let's explain system change, and not regime change.)
De Guzman lost in the 2019 midterm senatorial elections placing 38th overall with 888,458 votes. He promised then to end job contractualization, among others.
He is the chairperson of labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino and founding member of party-list Partido Manggagawa.
A longtime labor rights activist, he is the country representative to the International Council of the International Center for Labor Solidarity.
Senators Manny Pacquiao and Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, and former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. are among the presidential aspirants in 2022.
The filing of COCs opened last Oct. 1 and will end this Friday.
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