By Philippine News Agency
MANILA — House Deputy Speaker and Taguig City Rep. Pia Cayetano on Monday led the inauguration of the first breastfeeding room for nursing female employees of the House of Representatives, calling the establishment of the facility a “perfect gift for working moms on Women’s Month.”
The breastfeeding room was the result of the initiatives of Cayetano and a group of breastfeeding mothers of the House, who in separate letters to the House leadership, requested for the establishment of the facility as mandated by law.
Republic Act 10028, or the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act, mandates the establishment of lactation rooms in public places and facilities, as well as in government and private workplaces.
The landmark law, which was signed in 2009 by then President and current House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, also mandates paid lactation breaks for nursing mothers during work hours.
Cayetano, who pushed for the passage of RA 10028 when she was still senator, said the launching of the breastfeeding room showed that the House believes in the importance of breastfeeding for healthier babies.
“If there are three mothers this month that will have the pleasure of using this lactation room, that would translate to three babies being breastfed longer and protected better,” she said.
“What could be a perfect gift for nursing employees of the House of Representatives on Women’s Month than a breastfeeding room they could access in their own workplace? This facility is also open to non-employees, or breastfeeding mothers who happen to be visiting Congress,” Cayetano said.
In the meantime, the House leader said she is hoping that more lactation rooms would be established in the coming months.
Under the law, breastfeeding rooms should be adequately provided with the necessary equipment and facilities, such as lavatory for hand-washing; refrigeration or appropriate cooling facilities for storing expressed breastmilk; electrical outlets for breast pumps; tables; comfortable seats; and other amenities for lactating mothers.
“The objective is to make it convenient for a mother to breastfeed. We want breastfeeding to be the first choice and, if possible, the only choice for mothers to ensure the health of our children,” Cayetano said.
The establishment of a breastfeeding room at the House marked the second time that the Taguig representative personally worked for the proper implementation of RA 10028 in an institution tasked to craft and pass laws.
During her term as senator, Cayetano also pushed for the opening of a breastfeeding room at the Philippine Senate in Pasay City.