THIS is not the revolutionary organization founded by Andres Bonifacio to gain independence from Spain, although in many ways this is also an independence movement with many of the same working class comprising it.
With an ideology, a vision and a clear road-map to help solve the country’s chronic underdevelopment, poverty and injustice, the Katipunan ng mga Manggagawa at Magsasaka ng Pilipinas (KATIPUNAN), a nationwide multi-sectoral political party dominated by workers, farmers, fisherfolks, and workers in the informal economy, and with leaders among its ranks, was launched yesterday at the Knights of Columbus Gym, on Beaterio Street, Intramuros, Manila beside the Manila Cathedral.
I am honored to be part of it, along with former Agriculture Secretary and Party-List Representative Leonardo Montemayor.
KATIPUNAN counts within its ranks a potential of more than 5 million card-bearing members.
It has a 10-point agenda for reform and development.
1. Modernization and industrialization of agriculture, with full implementation of agrarian reform, natural resources and fisheries reform, as keys to achieve food security, job creation, poverty eradication, and balanced rural-urban development.
2. Rapid industrialization and employment creation through appropriate investments (including public-private partnerships), government spending, promotion of micro, small and medium enterprises and self-employment schemes.
3. Ensuring that workers get just wages, security of tenure and working conditions as well as opportunities for profit and ownership-sharing in the enterprise.
4. Proper urban-rural development planning and implementation, with urban land reform, socialized housing and mass transport system.
5. Promotion of green and sustainable economy and implementation of climate-change adaptation and mitigation program.
6. Strong support to education, science and technology, inventions and innovation systems.
7. Implementation of universal and comprehensive social protection /welfare program, including improved conditional cash transfer, social security and crop insurance.
8. Shift to parliamentary and federal form of government.
9. Massive grassroots information, education, and effective representation and participation of basic sectors and their organizations in government policy-making and program implementation at all levels.
10. Active support for the defense of our territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Preparations for the organization of KATIPUNAN started more than six months ago. The petition for accreditation with the Commission on Elections was signed by the Katipunan founding members on 26 August 2015, purposely to coincide with the National Heroes Day.
During launch yesterday, the KATIPUNAN constitution and by-laws, vision and mission statement, together with the Party’s 10-Point Reform and Development Agenda, was presented for approval after which the election of officers was held.
We will put up national and local candidates, either from our own ranks, or adopts candidates who are independents or from existing political parties. In the case of the latter, our platform of government and qualification of the candidates will be the basis for decisions and strategic partnerships.
Aside from labor, farmers, fisherfolks, and workers in the informal economy sectors, KATIPUNAN members will come from 12 other sectors, namely: workers in the informal economy, overseas Filipino workers, urban poor, persons with disabilities (PWDs), senior citizens, youth, women, indigenous peoples, faith-based organizations, business, professionals, cooperatives, and advocacy groups like Sagot Kita Bayan (SKB).
The KATIPUNAN will hold regional assemblies with representatives from the country’s provinces, cities, and municipalities in all regions of the country. Beginning November 2015, KATIPUNAN members will begin to undergo seminars on the Party’s vision, mission, general strategy, platform of government, and political skills.
The entire spectrum of the labor sector is represented in KATIPUNAN and our issues are relevant to present economic and social conditions.
We want to change the government’s and our country’s overall labor records, which are just as dismal and disappointing as its records on corruption and human rights.
This is a clarion call to the labor movement. Join us. As with any movement, power comes from numbers and the ability to wield these numbers for a common cause.
Be a part of KATIPUNAN and you can engage in meaningful advocacies on political, social and economic issues, those that truly make a difference in the lives of workers.