Private companies asked to set up breastfeeding rooms
TACLOBAN CITY -The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) has asked private companies in Eastern Visayas to comply with the law mandating establishments to set up breastfeeding rooms.
In its meeting this week with the federation of family welfare committees, DoLE regional director Forter G. Puguon said that they will prioritize their advocacy among bigger companies with bigger office space that can house a breastfeeding center.
The Samar II Electric Cooperative in Paranas, Samar is the first company that committed to comply with the law, followed by the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation (PASAR) in Isabel, Leyte. Robinsons Mall and Gaisano Capital have opened their breastfeeding areas earlier.
“In this campaign, we will prioritize big companies then we will go into small and medium enterprises. We will tap family welfare committees formed by private companies to push through this initiative because this is a family concern of workers,” Puguon said in a media interview.
The labor department launched its breastfeeding room this week with the hope that this will be replicated not only by government offices but private firms as well.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), DoLE is the first government agency in Eastern Visayas to set up a breastfeeding room after DOH and the National Nutrition Council (NNC).
The breastfeeding room should be a private and comfortable area where breastfeeding mother employees or clients can breast feed their infants. The place is required to have a chair and a table, hand washing facility and cold storage facility or refrigerator.
Republic Act No. 10028, or the “Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act,” mandates breastfeeding facilities in public areas and offices, and “milk breaks” for nursing female employees. It was signed into law last March this year.
Nursing female employees should also be given reasonable compensable time during work hours to breastfeed or express their milk based on the new law. It also encourages the health institutions to set up milk banks for safe collection and storage of breast milk.
Another salient provision of the law is the provision of incentives to institutions that set up proper breastfeeding facility.
“We’ve found out in studies that a number of mothers breastfeeding their babies went down because they have to go to work. In offices, there’s no place where they can feed their babies and that prompts the mother to stop the practice,” said Carina Z. Santiago, NNC regional program coordinator.
National Demographic Survey result showed that the average period a mother breastfeeds her baby in Region 8 is 3.2 months, which is way below that the recommended six months exclusive breastfeeding.
“How can a working mother breastfeed her baby exclusively for six months if she has to go to work in an office or establishment without a breastfeeding room?” Santiago asked. (Sarwell Q. Meniano)
Short URL: http://leytesamardaily.net/?p=1297