Press Release
World Breastfeeding Week Celebration,
Philippine Children's Medical Center, Quezon City
August 6, 2007

Statement of Sen. Nene Pimentel
at the World Breastfeeding Week Celebration


Ladies and Gentlemen:

May I thank Dr. Gloria Ramirez and the members of the Breastfeeding Committee for your kind invitation for me to speak before your gathering this morning.

In all honesty, I find it surprising that the burden of proving that breastfeeding is good for infants is apparently being put on the shoulders of those who use it instead of being placed on the shoulders of those who advocate other means of child-feeding.

Best way of feeding infants

In a fast research that I made, I found out that the Canadian Paediatric Society has recently come out with the conclusion that breastfeeding infants is the best way of feeding the child at the very least for the first six months of his or her life.

The mother's milk is the best first defense against diarrhea which is a major cause of deaths of infants and allergence materials. It is also a good source of antibodies and immune nutrients that help babies grow up healthy.

It goes without saying that a mother's milk is intended by nature to suit her baby's needs.

Materialist philosophy

I guess the materialistic philosophy of life where money has become the gauge of success has caused the shift from breastfeeding babies to bottle feeding them.

Many mothers now feel obliged to work to raise family income. But, in general, the work place is not designed to allow mothers to breastfeed their babies.

In fact, mothers working outside the home are dissuaded by circumstances not to bear children.

That is probably a non-intended effect of mothers working outside the home but it is a problem that needs to be met squarely.

If working mothers are persuaded not to bear children, it logically follows that our population growth will diminish.

Indiscriminate population reduction

Causing an indiscriminate population reduction may bring about other problems for the nations as they are now finding out in Singapore, Germany and other places in Europe. Those countries are beginning to realize that if they peg their population growth rate at less than the replacement levels, they will have difficulty sustaining their social security systems. The reason is that there will be less people of working age working to support the needs of a fast-growing number of retirees.

Let me say in passing that we are not saying that reducing the population growth is necessarily evil. What we are saying is that abortion and other means of reducing population growth through abortifacient drugs are not the legal and moral way of doing it.

We are also saying that begetting children without responsible parenthood is not necessarily good for the country either.

Breastfeeding facilities

In any event, going to the problem of nursing mothers who are working, we bring to the attention of our audience that there is a senate bill (No. 1767) that passed the Senate and the House in the 13th Congress but did not pass through the Conference Committee before the last Congress adjourned.

The bill would have established "Lactation Stations" in work places and even in public places that should "be adequately equipped with the necessary (tools) and facilities" by government agencies concerned and by private firms.

All that entails money. That is the reason why the problem becomes complicated and the bill was stalled at the Conference Committee level.

I hope, however, that in the not too distant future, we can see these amenities provided in the work places so that mothers can breastfeed their babies even as they work.

I am optimistic that we can overcome the lobby of those opposed to mothers breastfeeding their infant babies. After all, Congress had passed Republic Act 7600 on June 2, 1992. The law provides incentives to government and private health institutions that promote breastfeeding practices and provide breastfeeding facilities for their patients who deliver babies in their institutions.

It is a good beginning. And we should take over the issue of promoting breastfeeding practices by law from where the R.A. 7600 and Senate Bill No. 2490 left it.

I need not say that the WHO and the American Society of Pediatrics have endorsed the concept that breastfeeding babies is good for the mental and physical health of the infants especially in their first year.

Even in Paradise

Let me say that even in Paradise, I have it on good authority, that Eve breastfed Cain and Abel. Breastfeeding must indeed be good. Otherwise, no man or woman descended from Adam and Eve would be here to dispute the conclusion.

Congratulations to the organizers of this conference and I hope that despite the difficulties inherent in our advocacy in support of breastfeeding, we will persevere and continue in that direction. It is good for mothers. It is good for babies. It is good for the nation.

I thank you.

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