Strengthening its commitment to protecting Filipino children, integrated telco PLDT Inc. and its wireless arm Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) are integrating children’s rights in their business operations. This milestone comes right in time for the celebrations of World Children’s Day and the National Children’s Month this November.
“Our country is now faced with the challenge of protecting our children in a rapidly evolving digital landscape. This policy upholds our commitment to create value and generate positive impact for them – not just through CSR but also embedded right at the core of our business operations,” says PLDT Chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan.
PLDT and Smart began a partnership with Unicef in 2018. Management and staff went through training programs and consultations to craft a set of pro-children corporate policies. This covers the Group’s human resource and employee training programs, procurement, and vendor management protocols, product development, marketing activities, as well as engagements with customer communities. These policies also embed child safeguarding principles to fortify the Group’s continuing efforts toward protecting children online through its enabling technology, customer education efforts, and community partnerships.
Examples of pro-children measures are the strict screening of human resource staff tasked with engaging communities and human resource policies that imbibe the principles of non-discrimination. Smart is also developing products with a child safety lens by working with technology companies and developers to protect children online through safety protocols and blocking of child sexual abuse materials. These measures adopt the Children’s Rights and Business Principles global framework that was developed by the UN agency, together with the UN Global Compact and Save the Children.
“We are grateful to have allies in PLDT and Smart who have worked hard to develop these policies that protect and advance the rights of children in the workplace, the marketplace, and the communities in which it operates,” said Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov, Unicef Representative to the Philippines. “With these policies, PLDT/Smart enshrines its belief that the welfare of Filipino children is the key to a business’ long-term viability and sustainability.” says.
“We are optimistic that this will create a significant ripple effect that will benefit millions of children in the country now and into the future,” Pangilinan said. “We fully recognize the role of Filipino children as the future shapers of the nation and shareholders of our business. It is imperative to take action now, not just to contribute toward nation-building, but also to future-proof our business.”
Anchoring on this policy, PLDT and Smart aim to make it a continuing journey to stay abreast of relevant technologies, platforms, partnership opportunities, and customer dynamics that support child protection and family safety online.