Union Obrero Democratica de Filipinas
Union Obrero Democratica de Filipinas, or formerly known as the Union Obrera Democratica was the first labor federation in the Philippines. It was founded by Isabelo delos Reyes and Herminigildo Cruz, it advocates the rights of the labor force during the American occupation in the Philippines.
It was in January 1, 1902 that Isabelo delos Reyes decided to organize the first formal trade union, the Union de Impresores de Filipinas (UIF). A month after, February 2, 1902, with the help of Herminigildo Cruz, they founded the Union Obrera Democratica (UOD). It was considered as the country's first labor federation with more than 85 unions joined after its formal establishment in its first Congress at Teatro Varidades in Sampaloc, Manila.Under the leadership of Isabelo delos Reyes, Dr. Dominador Gomez, Lope K. Santos and Herminigildo Cruz, it fostered members which included unions of printers, lithographers, cigar makers, tailors, mechanics among others.
The union's founding president, Isabelo delos Reyes was arrested and convicted by the US colonial authorities in August 1902 for sedition, rebellion and "conspiracy to the raise the price of labour". However, Dominador Gomez, who changed the name from UOD to Union Obrero Democratica de Filipinas or UODF, succeeded him as president.
May 1, 1903 was the first Labor Day celebration in the Philippines in which was held under UDOF. Despite the refusal of the US colonial government to issue a permit for demonstration, thousands of workers marched from Plaza Moriones in Tondo to Malacañang to demand complete independence while chanting "Death to US Imperialism!". Although the success of the first Labor Day rally was evident, the UODF was declared illegal by the US colonial authorities. Dr. Gomez was arrested for sedition and illegal association. He was tried and sentenced to one year of hard labor. After that, Herminigildo Cruz took over in the federation's leadership.
October 1903, the federation ushered to give birth in the publication of the first workers' newspaper, La Redencion del Obrero. The weekly four paged-tabloid size paper written in Spanish and Tagalog acted as necessary mouthpiece and defender of the working masses in the country. It was on 1904, having its 20th issue, that the paper ended its circulation, following the resignation of Isabelo delos Reyes after his conviction of the charge of agitating for wage increase. Dominador Gomez immediately started Los Obreros and making it the official organ of the UOD.
The UODF was dissolved Labor Day of 1903 but was later named as the Congreso Obrero de Filipinas (COF) which was organized by Herminigildo Cruz and Crisanto Evanglista in an effort to achieve the unity of the labor front. Although it was known to sustain its hold on its affiliated unions, it was able to actively pass resolutions for protective labor standards, particularly for an 8-hour work day, protection of women and child labor and social insurance.
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- Dapulang, Emilia."TRADE UNION REPRESSION IN THE PHILIPPINES" Philippine Solidarity Network of Aotearoa. (accessed on April 29, 2009).