Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga) and her son, Representative Diosdado Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Camarines Sur), have filed a bill that, if passed, would extend the length of allotted maternity leave from 60 to 120 days, according to a report from

Aside from doubling the length of paid maternity leaves, House Bill 6128 will allow for an optional 60 more days so new mothers can breastfeed for at least six months, as recommended by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO).

"This will give mother and child quality time for bonding while at the same time ensuring the child's proper growth and development," said Mrs. Arroyo.

According to a 2011 UNICEF report
, the Philippines had the 77th highest under-five mortality rate out of 190 countries, with around 33 out of every 1000 children dying before they reach the age of five. A long breastfeeding period was suggested by the organization as a possible solution to the problem as breast milk contains special nutrients that can aid the development of the child.

(photo by Richard Anderson via Flickr Creative Commons)

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