Taguig 2nd District Rep. Lani Cayetano pushed for the establishment of milk banks nationwide to benefit the health and nutrition of breastfed infants and babies, especially at the grassroots level.
“It is clear that if the nutrition of infants is important to us, we must invest in milk banks. It is important for breastfeeding to reach the grassroots,” Cayetano said in an interview with Bombo Radyo Legazpi on August 18.
August is National Breastfeeding Month in the Philippines.
“Ang breast milk po ay ang pinakaunang regalo na maibibigay ng isang ina sa kanyang anak bago pa ang mga milk formula, mga bitamina na sinasabi nila. Hindi po iyan. Ang breast milk po ay ang pinaka-importante,” she added.
(Breast milk is the first gift a mother can give to her child, before milk formula and vitamins. Breast milk is the most important.)
Cayetano made the same push in an interview with Bombo Radyo Naga the following day and called for a strong awareness campaign on the positive benefits of breastfeeding.
In a radio interview with Bombo Radyo Naga on August 19, Cayetano urged the government to replicate what Taguig City had done on breastfeeding awareness.
“Taguig is among the first local government units (LGUs) in the country to have a milk bank. This milk bank asks for excess breast milk from lactating moms in the city, which will then be donated to mothers who find it challenging to produce milk,” Cayetano said in Bicolano.
“This program of the city starts from the barangay level up to the city level. In addition, each barangay hall and government office in Taguig already has breastfeeding rooms. This can be used by both employees and visitors. I hope the government can use this as an inspiration to be adopted in the whole country,” she added.
According to Cayetano, who first introduced this program when she served as Mayor, she personally advocates breastfeeding because of its positive benefits to babies and their mothers.
“I am an advocate for breastfeeding because a mother’s milk is filled with nutrition that the baby needs to boost his/her immune system. When you breastfeed, we provide the babies their first line of defense against bacteria and viruses,” she said.
Cayetano also highlighted the initiatives of her husband, former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, to allot breastfeeding rooms inside the halls of the House of Representatives during his time as speaker.
“Inside Congress, there are breastfeeding rooms for mommies. I hope this can also be done not only in private offices but also in government offices nationwide,” she said.