In 1986, the Philippines finally took a step forward to catch up with international standards protecting the health and the physical and intellectual development of infants and young children. It passed into law the Milk Code, which encouraged mothers to breastfeed their babies from age 0 to 36 months. This law prohibited advertising practices that enticed mothers to choose artificial milk products such as infant formula over their own breast milk.
In 2009, to further encourage breastfeeding even among working moms, a law entitled Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act was passed. This law gave nursing employees lactation breaks--in addition to breaks for meals--to breastfeed or express milk at certain times during office hours. For an eight-hour period of work, lactating mothers are entitled to breaks totaling 40 minutes, which shall be compensable.
But just when the rate of breastfeeding in the Philippines is improving, certain members of Congress, among them two females, recently passed a bill to amend the Milk Code and the Expanded Breastfeeding Act. This bill, if passed into law, will set back whatever gains women have have had on breastfeeding to levels before the enactment of the Milk Code.
Here are six reasons mothers and all Filipino women should stand up against the passing into law of the House Bill that seeks to amend the Milk Code and the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009.
(Photo by Rommel Cabrera via Flickr Creative Commons)