Elmer Labog 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.
Elmer 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.
“Ang aming plataporma ay ang pagdadala ng mas makatarungan at makatuwirang sahod para sa lahat ng mga manggagawa, ito man ay maging sa pribado o sa gobyerno. At ang pagtiyak sa trabaho para sa lahat, pagtiyak sa kabuhayan, pabahay, at pagrespeto sa karapatan ng mga manggagawang Pilipino.”
Labog has been included in the senatorial slate of labor leader Leody de Guzman, Senator Manny Pacquiao, and the opposition 1Sambayan coalition.
ELMER “BONG” CALAGUI LABOG
Full Name: Elmer Calagui Labog
Nickname: Ka Bong
Birthday: August 3, 1955 (Age 78)
Birthplace: Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya
Languages Spoken: Filipino; English
Profession/Occupation: NGO Worker
- 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
Elmer 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).
Elmer 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.