3 years on, breast-feeding law not fully followed
MANILA, Philippines—Three years after the Expanded Breast-Feeding Promotion Act was signed into law, many commercial establishments and work places still have not put up lactation stations that provide privacy and comfort for breast-feeding mothers and their infants.
Sen. Pia Cayetano, chair of the Senate women and health committees in the 15th Congress, made this observation as the Philippines joined in the celebration of World Breast-Feeding Week in the first week of August.
“It has been three years since (the law) was passed and two years since its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) were approved,” Cayetano said in a privilege speech Wednesday.
She said the law and its regulations specify the establishment of lactation stations in all public places and work places to accommodate breast-feeding mothers as part of the government effort to promote mother’s milk instead of cow-based instant formula for infants.
“I still receive complaints from pregnant and breast-feeding mothers that their offices are noncompliant and although I am happy to see breast-feeding/lactation station in public places like malls and some airports, there are still many places that have not complied,” she said.
Cayetano said she would file a Senate resolution to examine the noncompliance with the breast-feeding promotion law.
“I take this opportunity to call on all those concerned to make sure that you embrace the breast-feeding culture and provide the necessary environment to allow a mother to continue expressing her milk while she’s away from home,” she said.
Cayetano said the breast-feeding culture depended largely on the environment surrounding mother and child.
She said there were “five circles of support” identified by the World Alliance for Breast-Feeding Action: A mother’s own family; the healthcare system that provide her with pre- and post-natal counseling; the mother’s workplace; the government that works to provide legislation ensuring protection and support for lactating mothers; and special planning during crises and emergencies like natural disasters where both mother and infant are at risk.
Cayetano said that, so far, the government had ensured that adequate information on the importance of breast-feeding was readily available to mothers.
She also noted that there were laws that prohibit the advertisement, promotion and sponsorship of infant formula for babies 0 to 6 months old. However, these still needed to be enforced more strictly.
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