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Program to help Filipino Muslims in the workforce

Red Flags program aims to check workplace discrimination based on culture and faith differences

Program to help Filipino Muslims in the workforce

Thousands of Filipino Muslims commemorate the end of Ramadan in Quezon City in this file photo. (Photo by Basilio Sepe)

September 4, 2017

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A business group rolled out new guidelines against discrimination in workplaces as Filipinos greeted the Muslim Eid al-Adha feast on Sept.1 with calls for peace and solidarity.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello welcomed the Mindanao Business Council's "Red Flags" program, which was launched on Aug. 29, as a step towards increasing jobs among the country's 10.7 million Muslims.

In a brief statement, President Rodrigo Duterte urged Muslims and Christians to work together "in our task of ensuring triumph against elements that perpetuate discord and violence," referring to IS-inspired rebels that have been battling government forces in the southern city of Marawi the past three months.

The Philippines celebrated the Eid a day after the Marawi conflict passed the 100-day mark, with soldiers still trying to dislodge around 50 rebel holdouts.

The red-flag program, which partners with International Alert and the Australian and Dutch governments, aims to check workplace discrimination based on culture and faith differences.

Bello said the program would help Filipino Muslims seeking work outside the conflict zones of southern Philippines. A quarter of the country's population have scattered across the archipelago through decades of fighting.

Members of the business group said they would ask human resource managers to ensure that ethnic and religious identity do not bar employment opportunities. They also pledged to create workplace guidelines against discrimination among workers.

The program will monitor companies, checking if minority employees are being left behind in promotions despite equal or sufficient qualifications and work performance. It also seeks to protect complainants from retaliation by managers.

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