Press Release
August 1, 2006


Noting the celebration of the National Breastfeeding Week this August, Senator Edgardo J. Angara today reassert the importance of breast milk for infants in the wake of fast decline of number of mothers breastfeeding their babies and increase in the number of mothers opting for milk formula.

Only 15 percent of mothers in the Philippines practice exclusive breastfeeding. The degradation is so fast in less than 15 years. There is no dispute at all as to which one is better food for an infant. Its human milk. There is no substitute for it. Breastfed people turn out to be brighter and thats not just a speculation. Its scientific, said Angara who authored R.A. 7600, the Rooming-In and Breastfeeding Act of 1992.

Angara also said that the implementation of R.A. 7600 contributes to the alarming problem over breastfeeding decline. He suggested that the government should get the international pharmaceutical companies to help and fund an information campaign to boost breastfeeding.

We have a clear mandate here to wage an intensive education and information campaign about breastfeeding among health workers, mothers and public in general. But, I understand, manufacturers of infant formulas, like Wyeth or Nestle, also want to sell their products, Angara said.

We will be better off if we get these companies to fund an information campaign because it is also in their interests; that is, infants can grow healthy. When they become adult, they can eat cheese and all the dairy products these companies produce, he continued.

Angara also said that the practice of breastfeeding could save the country valuable foreign exchange that may otherwise be used for importation of infant milks. Annually, Filipinos import around 400 million-dollars worth of milk formula but spend 536 million pesos to bury 15,000 bottle-fed babies. And another 3.5 billion pesos for the treatment of infant malnutrition and diarrhea, Angara said. Breastfeeding is the first preventive health measure that can be given to the child at birth. It is natures first immunization, enabling the infant to fight serious infection. It also enhances mother-infant relationship. It has distinct advantages which benefit the infant and the mother, including the hospital and the country that adopt its practice, he continued.

Angara also noted that breastfeeding is a natural birth control because it encourages birth spacing.

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