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PLDT, Smart urge workforce to champion inclusive development for indigenous peoples

Together with partners from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) led by Dr. Carlos Buasen, Jr., the training session was attended by close to a thousand PLDT and Smart employees during the celebration of the National Indigenous Peoples Month.

As part of their diversity and inclusion initiatives, PLDT Inc. (PLDT) and Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) recently conducted a cultural sensitivity seminar for their workforce, to equip them with the knowledge when engaging with Philippine indigenous peoples (IPs). PLDT and Smart operate the country’s most expansive fixed and mobile networks that serve customers in every area of the country, making cultural sensitivity a must among their workforce.

Together with partners from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) led by Dr. Carlos Buasen, Jr., the training session was attended by close to a thousand PLDT and Smart employees during the celebration of the National Indigenous Peoples Month.

“As you all know, we work with a wide array of sectors on a daily basis—sectors that have unique characteristics and needs. This is where cultural sensitivity comes in. It is an acknowledgment that while we have different beliefs, customs, practices, and ways of working, we share a common purpose of gaining a better understanding and appreciation of our respective cultures to help serve our communities better,” said Cathy Yap-Yang, FVP and Head of Group Corporate Communications at PLDT and Smart.

The seminar conducted by Dr. Buasen covered topics such as the fundamentals of the IP Agenda; history, culture, and policy; cultural competence in service delivery; importance of cultural sensitivity; and roles of support institutions.

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This initiative is also aligned with the Group’s commitment to help the country achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal #10 on reducing inequality by empowering and promoting the social, economic, and political inclusion of all. The promotion of diversity and equality also highlights Concern, one of the four pillars that make up the PLDT Group’s sustainability framework.

“We put this program together as part of our thrust on diversity and inclusion. This learning session highlights our core value of malasakit in action — for our customers, stakeholders, company, co-workers, and most of all, malasakit for our communities,” said Stephanie V. Orlino, AVP and Head of Stakeholder Management at PLDT and Smart.

PLDT and Smart have been capacitating their employees on engagements with IPs and local communities as part of their human rights impact assessment and due diligence processes. The Group has also been supporting IP communities throughout the years with programs aimed to preserve and enrich their unique culture, and initiatives that open economic opportunities for their communities.

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