MANILA, Philippines - Two lawmakers have filed a bill that allows mothers to breastfeed while at the workplace.
In a press release, Malabon Rep. Josephine Veronique Lacson-Noel and Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez jointly filed House Bill 3527 or “The Breastfeeding Act of 2010” that seeks to promote, support and protect breastfeeding.
A main provision is the mandatory creation of lactation facilities in all offices, both public and private, where nursing mothers can feed their children even during working hours.
Such location shall have access to clean and safe water source, a sink for washing hands and cleaning breast-pumping equipment as well as hygienic storage facilities for the mother’s breast milk.
The National Demographic and Health Survey in 2003 showed that 17% of mothers who chose not to breastfeed said it was because they were working or had returned to work.
“We want to address these through education programs and interventions in the workplace that would include setting up of lactation facilities and work breaks attuned to the need for milk expression or breastfeeding” Rep. Lacson-Noel said.
“Companies may even get tax deductions when they comply with the bill’s provisions,” she added.
The bill also pushes for more information among mothers on the advantages of breastfeeding.
Lacson-Noel stressed “breastfeeding is the gold standard of nutrition for infants. Apart from being a legislator, it is the responsibility of mothers like me to give the best we can for our children.”
For his part, Rodriguez said: “In a country such as the Philippines, breastfeeding should be an imperative not only for the infant’s health but also for the significant cost benefits to the family.”
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the number of Filipino mothers who exclusively breastfeed their children from 0-6 months has drastically decreased to 34% in the last 5 years.