BAGUIO CITY – Most government agencies and local government units were found to be not compliant to the establishment of lactating stations for breastfeeding employees and clients in their respective offices, a top nutrition official said here.
Rita Pepey, Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator of the Cordillera office of the National Nutrition Council (NNC-CAR), said the major reason why government agencies are not able to put up their lactating stations is that they are simply renting their respective offices and that the spaces they are occupying are just enough for their officials and employees, thus, the failure on their part to put up the appropriate lactating stations for breastfeeding employees and clients.
She added that other reasons cited by officials of government agencies on this concern is the claim that all of their female workers are already beyond the lactating years and that establishing a lactating station is useless.
“We understand the predicament of our line agency and local officials on the establishment of lactating stations but we have to point out to them the importance of the lactating stations, especially for their clients who are breastfeeding their babies,” Papey stressed.
On the other hand, the NNC-CAR official revealed that based on the inspection done by the officials and employees of the Department of labor and Employment – Cordillera on the compliance of private establishments to the putting up of lactating stations in their respective businesses, there were 37 establishments that were found to have been compliant to the said requirement.
Under the provisions of the Milk Code of the Philippines, government and private offices are mandated to put up a lactating station within their buildings for the use of breastfeeding employees and clients.
Papey encouraged government agencies, local government units and private establishments that have not yet set aside a room in their buildings exclusively for lactating stations to comply with the provisions of the Milk code of the Philippines.
According to her, putting up lactating stations in government and private offices provides convenience for breastfeeding mothers transacting business with them considering that they will be given a chance to relax and breastfeed their babies, instead of exposing their breasts to the public while their babies are sucking milk which will not be good in the view of others.
The NNC-CAR official expressed optimism that there will be more government offices and local government units that will realize the importance of lactating stations in their respective buildings so that the concerns of their breastfeeding employees and clients will be effectively and efficiently addressed and for the privacy of lactating mothers to be upheld and allow them the use of such lactating stations while doing business in the said offices./By Dexter A. See