Pia hoping Congress will pass Expanded Maternity Leave Law

By USJR Intern |August 05,2018 - 08:05 PM

Senator Pia Cayetano expressed hope that the Extended Maternity Leave will be passed in Congress soon.

“I can assure everyone that it is a very good law. I can see a lot of support. So I can say that I feel pretty strong about its passage,” said Cayetano.

“We are hoping that this month, in celebration of Breastfeeding Month, we will be able to pass the Expanded Maternity Leave Law,” said Cayetano.

The Expanded Maternity law will provide a 100 day maternity leave for mothers which according to Cayetano will give them enough time to breastfeed their babies regularly.

Cayetano joined 316 mothers for the Big Latch 2018 yesterday, August 4 at the SM Seaside Atrium wherein the mothers breastfed their babies simultaneously for one minute.

Now on its fifth year, The Big Latch On is an annual event organized by Glory Reborn Organization and many local mothers’ group in Cebu to celebrate the Breastfeeding month.

“This is our biggest Big Latch ever because we have multiple venues all over Cebu,” said Hillary Overton, chief executive officer and founder of Glory Reborn Org.

Big Latch 2018 was simultaneously held at SM Seaside, SM Consolacion, and three hospitals in Cebu.

“All around Cebu, we breastfed altogether at 10:30-10:31 a.m.,” said Overton.

The Big Latch On is considered by the mothers’ groups as a huge component to the breastfeeding advocacy because it encourages the mothers and normalizes breastfeeding.

“The Big Latch is all about building a community of breastfeeding mothers who support each other,” said Overton.

Overton said that mothers who lack support tend to give up on breastfeeding and Cebuano mothers can tap various organizations in Cebu for support.

Groups such as Milk-Making Mommies, Cebu Breastfeeding Club, and Cebu Mommy Friends have over 5,000 members.

“These groups change the mindset of people about breastfeeding because of social media. Social media is so powerful in the spread of breastfeeding information,” said Lyca Dela Pieza, the founder of Cebu Mommy Women’s Support Group.

Overton also believes that the Philippine laws, especially the Expanded Breastfeeding Law of 2009, provide a strong support to breastfeeding mothers.

Cayetano admits that the implementation of the Breastfeeding law still needs improvement.

“I proposed to have an audit on government establishments if they have provided breastfeeding rooms,” said Cayetano.

The Breastfeeding law requires establishments such as malls and government buildings, as well as transportation services such as ships and airplanes to have breastfeeding rooms.

The law also requires companies or employers to provide mothers a breastfeeding time at work.

Cayetano said she disagreed on giving establishments incentives for providing breastfeeding rooms.

“I don’t believe that you need to give incentives for employers to treat women well. It is supposed to be a norm,” said Cayetano.

Meanwhile, Marie Kris Lechedo, 20, said she enjoyed The Big Latch On 2018, which she found as a good venue to promote breastfeeding among mothers.

She said that her two month old baby is healthy and strong because of regular breastfeeding.

She encouraged her fellow mothers to breastfeed their babies because this will serve both as a bonding and a health protection to the baby. /Delta Dyrecka Letigio, USJ-R Journalism Intern

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