BUSINESS PRACTICES TO CONTRIBUTE TO PROGRESS & PEACE BUILDINGBy: Datu Ibrahim “Toto” Pendatun Paglas III A Seminar Organized By The Bogota Chamber of Commerce, with the Bogota Major’s office and the International Organization for Migration
13th –14th June 2007, Bogota, Colombia
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Shallom, Assalamu Alaikum, Peace of God Be Upon Humanity. Wholeheartedly, I thank and congratulate the very well organizers of this event, for this indeed is a very meaningful gathering on which advocates of peace and development will have the chance to share among us the practices and learning of our institution and eventually each of us will gain substantial knowledge from it. I also would like to thank all the participants. Your presence expresses your enthusiasm and determination to achieve the most-longed goal that we all same wish for Mindanao, and that is, harmony among our people and progress in the economy of our dear promise land. Ladies and Gentlemen, I admit that sharing the experience of Paglas Corporation is a subject that is not alien to me. However, I same confess that whenever I am asked to speak about it, I am even more excited than a kid whose about to receive his first ever toy gift. I feel indeed honored at the same time proud that I will once again talk about Paglas Corporation, share its practices and disclose what our learnings from those practices are. I grew up in a place where most of the people live in poverty. Cruelty, injustice and abuse are words that are synonymous to the name of my town. And for that fact, may I quote a cliché “it is indeed sad, but true”. The establishment of the Paglas Corporation begins with the realization that if it must exist it will change, for the better, the life of the people in my town. Thus, I came out with a “business plan”. A plan of which that has also been supported by my elders and in particular my late uncle Hashim Salamat, a former chairman of a rebel group Moro International Liberation Front. He specifically mentioned three important things to me and those had been my guiding principles ever since.
- Protect the environment at any cost because this is all we have for the next generation;
- Do not abuse the workers, protect their rights and look after their welfare and safety, and last;
- Provide education for the children.
- The company employs more than two thousand workers in both its banana plantation in Datu Paglas Maguindanao and in its office headquarters in Davao City. Hand in hand, Christians and Muslims work together harmoniously in the plantation and even more surprising, even former members and officers of the rebel group Moro International Liberation Front also holds positions in the company. It may be interesting for you to know how Paglas Corporation was able to provide pleasant working environment for these workers, that despite they have different beliefs and religion, they were able to work together and respect each other. We address this situation by putting a solid concern on the understanding of each worker to each other’s beliefs and likewise ensure that injustice and discrimination will be put to rest. ? We conduct series of workshops and seminars, even invite priests and imams to talk about values and the teachings of the Bible and the Quoran. It promotes better understanding of each other’s practices and cultures. Everyone is told that we pray to the same God, we just call him his different names. Allah, Yahweh, Elohim, Christ, God the Father. Whatever you call him, he is the same God.
- ? Everyone is treated equally. Muslims or Christians are given a chance to hold executive or supervisory positions. How well should the worker performs its task, would be the basis for its promotion to higher ranks and not whether because he/she is a Muslim or a Christian.
- Benefits and bonuses are given to employees appropriately.
- Strict policy on attendance and on management of time in accomplishing a task.
- Performance evaluation of employees is being conducted.
- Series of trainings given to designated employees when there is new innovation or technology being acquired by the company.