DIWA Rep. Aglipay-Villar to DOTC: Implement RA 10028, establish lactation stations in airport

Following her recent visit in Dumagueta, Democratic Independent Workers Association (DIWA) Party List Representative Emmeline Aglipay – Villar asked the DOTC to implement RA 10028, or The Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009.

“RA 10028 has required the establishment of lactation stations in all health and non-health facilities, institutions, and establishments. It should have a lavatory for washing hands, outlets for the breast pumps, a refrigerator for expressed breast milk and comfortable seats,” Aglipay-Villar noted.

“The Dumaguete Airport did not have any. It had a VIP Lounge, which I asked permission to use to pump but was not allowed to enter. I was then forced to pump breast milk in the waiting area,” she added.

When asked as to whether the airport officials knew she was a member of the lower house, Aglipay-Villar said that such information is immaterial.

“This is a right that every mother should have. The law is clear. Whether or not they knew I was a government official is irrelevant at this stage. There is an evident denial of mother’s rights,” Aglipay-Villar noted.

“I will take up the lack of nursing stations in airports with DOTC and the implementation of RA 10028 with the Oversight Committee on Health,” she said.

According to UNICEF, early and exclusive breastfeeding significantly reduces neonatal mortality, supports healthy brain development, cognitive performance, and better educational achievement at age 5.

Aglipay-Villar, who is also the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Human Rights, also took the opportunity to remind mall owners that they too have the responsibility to provide for ‘hygienic and sanitary’ nursing stations.

“The DOH as the lead agency in the implementation of RA 10028 should conduct an inspection, not only on public-operated establishments such as domestic and international airports but also on private infrastructures, such as buildings, malls, and offices.

“It has been five years since the law has been enacted. We need to know the level of compliance of each with respect to the law. We need to send a message that the government is serious in respecting and safeguarding the rights of mothers,” she said.

Any private non-health facility, establishment and institution which unjustifiably refuses or fails to comply with the establishment of Lactation Stations and the grant of lactation breaks is penalized by RA 10028 with a fine of 50,000 to one million pesos, and/or the cancellation, revocation of the business permits or licenses to operate, depending on the gravity and frequency of the offense.

Heads, officials and employees of government health and non-health facilities, establishments and institutions who violate the law may also be reprimanded, suspended, and eventually dismissed.