Pia leads launch of Cebu’s first human milk bank

Cebu City, Cebu – House Deputy Speaker Pia S. Cayetano on Thursday led the inauguration of Cebu’s first Human Milk Bank at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, where she reiterated her breastfeeding advocacy for the benefit of Filipino mothers and children. 

The service facility will collect, pasteurize, and distribute donated breast milk from nursing mothers to infants at the neonatal intensive care unit who are either premature or have congenital ailments, or those whose mothers could not breastfeed due to childbirth complications.

The establishment of human milk banks in the country is pursuant to Republic Act 10028 or the “Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009,” of which Cayetano was the principal author. 

“The contribution of having a milk bank [is that] it really can save lives… It’s no longer debated that breast milk is the best for babies… Breast milk is the lifeline of all babies,” the congresswoman stressed.

“[But] sometimes, the mother is not able to provide breast milk. So what do you do when these mothers have no milk,” she added, noting that the human milk banks can fill in this gap. 

Under the law, health institutions in the country are encouraged set up milk banks for the storage and processing of donated breast milk, with the goal of providing accessible milk for children who are too ill or whose mothers cannot breastfeed. 

Prior to the law’s passage, Cayetano had already led the launching of the Philippines’ first community milk bank in Makati City. She said her inspiration for lobbying a measure that promotes breastfeeding was her personal experience as a mother. 

“My son was born with a congenital condition or trisomy 13. So for five months of his life, ang mga classmates niya were babies who were born with medical issues or sometimes their mothers cannot breastfeed immediately,” she cited. 

“That’s why I’ve also had the opportunity to share my breast milk with other mothers, not just with that son of mine, but with my other two daughters, I’ve shared my milk with other moms,” she added.

The Taguig representative then expressed her commitment to ensure the full and proper implementation of RA 10028, particularly to push for the establishment of more milk banks in Philippine hospitals. # 

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