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Companies urged to embrace equality and diversity


MANILA and Mindanao-based businesses and business associatio­ns were urged to promote inclusivit­y in their companies on Tuesday to boost performanc­e and help build sustainabl­e peace.

Internatio­nal Alert, a peacebuild­ing non-government­al organizati­on, the Mindanao Business Council (MinBC), and Team Energy Foundation, Inc. jointly launched the Red Flags on Equality and Diversity in the Workplace, which are a set of practical guidelines to help companies ensure equal access to employment opportunit­ies, safe spaces, and sustainabl­e careers for Muslims and indigenous peoples.

“Promoting inclusivit­y enables companies to improve labor relations, foster motivation and creativity among workers, improve their reputation, and ultimately boost their social and financial stability. Doing so would also address factors that contribute to the exacerbati­on of conflict leading to violent extremism,” said Francisco Lara, Jr., Country Manager of Internatio­nal Alert Philippine­s.

The Red Flags list warnings or red flags to companies on discrimina­tion against applicants or employees of certain ethnic or religious background­s and provide ways to address this discrimina­tion. Red flags include limiting access to employment due to ethnic or religious identities, imposing job requiremen­ts that are hostile to cultural or religious minorities such as the banning of hijabs, tolerating an exclusiona­ry workplace environmen­t that feature ethnic slurs and jokes, and terminatio­n of employees due to their distinct cultural norms and religious beliefs, among others.

“The Philippine labor force is highly diverse, composed mostly of young people from different cultural and religious background­s and gender identities. They present a rich resource that companies seeking to dominate their sectors now and in the future can tap,” said Rolando Torres, Executive Director of MinBC.

He added, “For them to thrive, places of employment must be inclusive and discrimina­tionfree.”

Undersecre­tary Domingo Say of the Department of Labor and Employment, in a message, said, “Identity should not be an obstacle in getting a job. The private sector has a responsibi­lity in ensuring inclusivit­y by providing and sustaining economic opportunit­ies for all, whatever the ethnic background, religion or gender.”

Some forty representa­tives from various businesses in the banking, finance, and service sectors, as well as from extractive industries, joined the Red Flags launch which was held at the Shang-ri La Hotel in Makati City. Representa­tives from the American, British, European, and Indian Chambers of Commerce also witnessed the event.

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