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PIA Press Release

Breasfeeding advocates find ally in Eastern Visayas RDC

By Ninfa B Quirante

Calbayog City (19 February) -- Breastfeeding advocates have found a new and formidable partner in its advocacy-Eastern Visayas RDC.

Yesterday, the Eastern Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC) proposed for the Establishment of Breastfeeding Rooms/ Corners in Government offices.

In the latest RDC meeting held at the Calbayog Sports Center, sponsored by Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento, Regional Director Forter Puguon of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) presented the reasons why such move is pushed.

The move, said Puguon"s presentation is consistent with the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) number one which is eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.

"Breastfeeding," added Puguon "will also try to reduce chid mortality."

The DOLE Director also said that doing the act of establishment of breastfeeding rooms/corners in government offices will create an atmosphere of harmonizing with the right of the child and the UN MDG.

"It is also anchored in the global strategy on Infant and yopung Child Feeding (IYF-DOH)," stressed the presenter.

Aside from the given reasons, breastfeeding is also consistent with the much publicized Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos and the Updated Medium Term Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (MTPPAN) for 2008-2010, he added.

Because mothers refuse to breastfeed, 30% of under five children are underweight, according to the data presented.

The data stressed that only 16.1% of Filipinos are exclusively breastfed.

Meanwhile, a Filipina mom blogger wrote:

"Marketing by milk formula companies has become increasingly aggressive. The number of women who breastfeed their infants has gone down dramatically in just a few years, while the sales and profits of the companies have risen. The irony, in the words of Sen. Edgardo Angara, author of the Rooming-In and Breastfeeding Act of 1992, is that each year we import $400 million in milk formula, but spend P536 million to bury 15,000 bottle-fed babies, and another P3.5 billion to treat infant malnutrition and diarrhea. We needlessly fritter away our foreign exchange reserves. We forget nature"s first form of immunization, enabling the infant to fight serious infection. We forgo the benefits of birth spacing as a form of natural birth control."

As the RDC meeting folded up, RDC members could not decide yet whether to support the move or not, one member asked whether this does not violate a Civil Service rule, they still have to ask.

Another said, "Then, if bringing babies in the office may transgress civil service rules, at least let the mother express her milk in the workplace and store it in a refrigerator that the office can supply-at the very least." (PIA-Samar) [top]

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