Leody de Guzman is an activist and labor leader who has pushed for policies to secure the rights and welfare of workers since 1984. He ran for senator in 2019 under the tagline “Manggagawa Naman” but failed to secure a seat. He currently sits as chairperson of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, a socialist labor center and federation of militant trade unions.
He is running under the opposition coalition Laban ng Masa on a progressive and workercentric platform hinged on a complete reform of the country’s political system to foster social
development and eventually augment the economy
De Guzman has vowed to challenge the interests of the rich by increasing taxes for billionaires, decreeing minimum wage, and banning contractualization, among others. He has also said he would halve the size of the national police and military and surrender enforcers and key figures in the current administration’s war on drugs.
Leody De Guzman has served as chairman of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino since 2018 but has been a ranking member of the socialist labor center since its inception in 1993. The group has long organized and consolidated militant trade unions in companies around the country calling for an overhaul of the country’s politics to a more progressive and egalitarian system.
“Kailangang baguhin ang mga batas at patakaran na nagliligalisa sa pagkakamal ng yaman ng iilan at pagpapahirap sa mga manggagawa at masa ng sambayanan. Kaya kinakailangang marinig ang boses ng mga manggagawa.”
LEODEGARIO “LEODY” QUITAIN DE GUZMAN
Full Name: Leodegario Quitain De Guzman
Birthdate: July 25, 1959 (Age 64)
Birthplace: Naujan, Oriental Mindoro
Residence: Cainta, Rizal
Parents: Lorenzo de Guzman and Dolores Quitain
Spouse: Marieza Tolentino
Children: Prolan, Lea, and Dexter
- Bachelor of Science in Customs Administration, Philippine Maritime Institute
- Chairman, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipinoæ
- Spokesperson, Paggawa Labor Allianceæ
- Member, Kilusang Mayo Uno
- Councilor, International Council, International Center for Labor Solidarity
- Vice President, Asia Regional Organization of Bank
- Insurance and Finance Unions
- Member, Board of Trustees, PhilRights
- Member, Board of Trustees, Bulig Visayas
Leody De Guzman became involved in activism due to the aftermath of the assassination of popular anti-Marcos figure Benigno Aquino Jr. Galvanized by the wave of pro-democratic, anti-Marcos opposition protests that ensued, he joined the “Tarlac to Tarmac” march as well as other protests. He led the Aris Philippines branch of the budding Justice for Aquino, Justice for All (JAJA) movement.
De Guzman also became involved in organizing the workers of the factory against the dominant union and would become an organizer for Alyansa ng mga Manggagawa sa Pasig (ALMAPAS), a major labor coalition, from 1984 to 1990.
Leody De Guzman was elected to the regional executive council of the militant labor federation Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) in 1991. However, because of increasing differences between KMU NCR and KMU national leadership, De Guzman joined other workers in forming an alternative labor federation, the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) alongside labor leaders such as Romy Castillo, Filemon ‘Ka Popoy’ Lagman, and Victor Briz. He was elected deputy secretary general of BMP at its formation in 1993, serving until 1996.
In 1996, he was elected as general secretary, serving until 2005 when he became president of BMP until 2018. Since 2018, De Guzman has been chairman of BMP. During this time, the BMP was active in organizing during discontent against the presidency of Joseph Estrada. During the impeachment trial of Estrada and subsequent EDSA 2, BMP and Sanlakas called for all elected officials to resign to pave the way for the overhaul of the country’s political system. The federation was also active against measures of later governments such as the 2006 state of emergency under the Arroyo administration and the war on drugs of the Duterte administration.
De Guzman is also currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the human rights non-governmental organization PhilRights and Bulig Visayas, another NGO for aiding calamity victims. He is also the current country representative of the International Council of the International Center for Labor Solidarity (ICLS) and vice president of the Asia Regional Organization of Bank, Insurance and Finance Union (AROBIFU).
In the 2019 elections, De Guzman positioned himself as a member of the labor opposition within the Labor Win coalition. He ran against endo contractualization, the abolition of the Mining Act of 1995, and the suspension of the tax system under the TRAIN law. He also supported renewable energy and a review of existing deregulation laws. On social issues, De Guzman opposed the return of the death penalty, pushed for stipends for poor students and the implementation of a Universal Basic Income, and supported the legalization of divorce.
De Guzman also supported the legalization of medical marijuana, the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, divorce bill, abortion, and same-sex marriage in the Philippines. He was against passing constitutional change under the Duterte administration towards federalism, the lowering of criminal age of liability, the extension of Martial law in Mindanao, and the phenomenon of red-tagging against activists and unionists. He also called for an end to political dynasties in the country.
In 2021, De Guzman reiterated his previous political positions, and included other proposals such as the abolition of the NTF-ELCAC and the repeal of the Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020, among other measures that signaled a “violent regime” as part of a 25-point progressive agenda.
He believes that solid positions on the following issues are important if “unification talks” with fellow presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo were to be possible:
- Amending the rice tariffication law,
- Reviewing the military agreements with the U.S. government,
- Increasing prices of basic goods,
- Automatic debt appropriation, and
- Prioritization of labor affairs, including contractualisation and low wages of workers.