The Infant and Young Child Feeding regional task force in region 10 is starting to monitor and require establishments to have lactation station within their facility to promote breastfeeding as mandated by law.
Section 11 of Republic Act 10028 or the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009 requires all health and non-health facilities, establishments or institutions shall establish lactation stations.
Further, it 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.
According to Telesfora Madelo of Department of Health (DOH) region 10, out of the 10 establishments monitored on 8 August 2016 in Cagayan de Oro City, only four had a lactation facility namely Concentrix, SM, Ororama, and Centrio Ayala Mall.
Among the recommendation include another visit to these establishments who have not complied and a written report directly to its manager or Human Resource officer. It was also discussed that this monitoring must be in coordination with its counterpart local government unit for the sanctions.
Moreover, the task force emphasized that there should be a workplace breastfeeding policy in every company.
Companies must allow nursing/lactating employees no less than 40 minutes paid lactation break for every eight hour work period divided into two to three milk expressions (exclusive of meal breaks); provide lactation station for nursing/lactating employees; orient/reorient all employees on breastfeeding and RA 10028 annually as part of their Human Resource Development activities.
The companies must also encourage mothers to breastfeed exclusively for six months and to continue breastfeeding for two years or beyond along with the introduction of appropriate and adequate complementary foods after six months.
Further, establishments must prohibit activities promoting use of breastmilk substitutes, teats and pacifiers within the lactation station; prohibit posting of marketing or sales materials on infant formula and/or breastmilk substitutes within the lactation station and post guidelines on the use of the station.
On the other hand, companies may seek exemption of lactation station as provided under Annex A of Department Order 143 s. 2015, of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on the “Guidelines Governing Exemption of Establishments from Setting Up Workplace Lactation Stations.”
Meanwhile, lactation stations in government offices are monitored by the Civil Service Commission (CSC). (JMOR/PIA10)