COA urges credit information agency to comply fully with law on setting up of lactation stations

While the Commission on Audit (COA) has acknowledged the compliance by the Credit Information Corporation (CIC), the sole government agency that keeps credit data, with the law on the setting up of lactation stations for nursing mothers, it said the unit set up was not fit for use.

In its audit report, COA said the cashier’s office of the CIC was improvised as a lactation station to fit the needs of one nursing employee in 2022.

Given this makeshift lactation station, the COA found that nursing mothers will have a difficult time washing their hands, sanitizing their pumping materials, and storing their pumped milk.

"Lavatory for hand washing was not available in the lactation station and the nearest accessible lavatory is in the female restroom which is approximately 30 meters away from the lactation room," the COA said.

It also said that "while refrigeration was available, the fridge was usually stocked with food and other food products of employees."

The setting up of lactation stations is provided for under Section 11 of Republic Act No. 10028.  It mandates: “All health and non-health facilities, establishments or institutions shall establish lactation stations.”

It also provides that “the lactation stations shall be adequately provided with the necessary equipment and facilities, such as: lavatory for hand-washing, unless there is an easily-accessible lavatory nearby; refrigeration or appropriate cooling facilities for storing expressed breastmilk; electrical outlets for breast pumps; a small table; comfortable seats; and other items, the standards of which shall be defined by the Department of Health. The lactation station shall not be located in the toilet.”

Individuals who are found to violate the law will face a reprimand for the first offense, suspension for one to 30 days for the second offense, and dismissal from the service for the third offense.

With its findings, COA recommended that CIC include in its gender and development (GAD) plan and budget the minimum necessary improvement of the lactation station to conform with the requirements under the law.

It also urged CID to seek the recommendation of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) on possible ways to comply with the requirements of a lactation facility considering the limitations imposed on the rented office space.