With the battle against infant and young child malnutrition raging on, women’s group Working with Working Mothers (WOW-Mothers) fully supports the efforts to revise and reform Executive Order 51, otherwise known as the Milk Code. Since its enactment in 1986, the Milk Code has been at the forefront in the promotion and support of breastfeeding. However, despite its existence for almost three decades now, breastfeeding rates in the country remain low. Clearly, the Milk Code must be able to encourage Filipino mothers to breastfeed while keeping up with the fast-paced lifestyle of today.
In the 15th Congress, several bills have been filed to address the problem of low breastfeeding rates. Significantly, these bills recognize that proper education of mothers and pregnant women is vital in ensuring sustained breastfeeding. They also emphasize that breastfeeding is the gold standard of nutrition for infants, while recognizing that the decision to breastfeed should be the mother’s alone.
This is in line with WOW-Mothers’ belief that mother’s milk is best for babies and that Filipino women also deserve to make informed choices, advocating the right of all women to proper and timely information, especially in matters of nutrition and child-rearing.
“WOW-Mothers believes that government and society have a responsibility to create conditions that enable us to better perform and balance our roles as women, mothers, and professionals,” said WOW-Mothers President Helen Macasaet.
In the present, women have grown out of the traditional and solitary role of home-makers and child-rearers as dictated by society for centuries. The women of today have come to establish themselves in the workplace, with many still finding enough time to care for the household the way only mothers can.
According to Macasaet, “WOW-Mothers sees the necessity of making the Milk Code responsive to the needs of Filipino mothers. We are pleased that the pending bills promote not just breastfeeding, but maternal health as well. It is an instrument for women to make informed choices. We believe it will empower women and help them make educated choices in health and nutrition.”
Working with Working Mothers, Inc. (WOW-Mothers) is a non-profit organization representing the more than 20 million working women in the Philippines. As an innovative, problem-solver organization, WOW-Mothers upholds every Filipino mother’s right to work and care for her family through engagements with leaders in the government and in business.