CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The designation of seats for nursing mothers on public buses in northern Mindanao is a first in the country and could serve as a benchmark for other regions, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB- 10) said.
“This is a very good practice that should be emulated by other LTFRB regional offices. What we have introduced here in Region 10 can serve as a reference,” LTFRB-10 Regional Director Aminoden Guro said Friday, August 6.
Reserving seats for breastfeeding mothers will protect them and give them dignity inside public buses, he said, adding that it “will be more convenient for mothers who will be breastfeeding their children inside the bus. bus”.
The idea of providing seats for nursing mothers through a policy came from the Regional Development Council (RDC-10), which issued Resolution 91 in 2020. The said resolution was intended to support the proposal of the regional office of the Department of Health (DOH-10) to include public buses as part of implementing Republic Act 10028 or the expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009.
RA 10028 is a national law that encourages, protects and supports the practice of breastfeeding.
The RDC-10 stated that one of the mandates of RA 10028 is the establishment of lactation stations accessible to breastfeeding women as needed, whether in health or non-health facilities, including public places and public utility vehicles.
The council added that as early as 2015, the Infant and Young Child Feeding Task Force (IYCF) issued its resolution asking all buses traveling in the region to allocate an exclusive seat to nursing mothers.
Guro said DOH-10 then asked LTFRB-10 to implement the proposal, but the COVID-19 pandemic put it on hold in 2020. On July 23, 2022, LTFRB-10 issued an interim order directing public service bus operators to reserve seats, marked with a sticker or sign, for breastfeeding mothers.
If bus operators refuse to provide seats for nursing mothers, Guro said a fine of 5,000 pesos will be applied for the first offense, 10,000 pesos for the second offense and 15,000 pesos for the third offense. There is also a possibility of cancellation or revocation of franchise in the event of a complaint for non-compliance with the said initiative.
“We can expect this to be adopted nationally, I will have it on the agenda of our next regional management conference so that all regional offices can make a model of it and hope to be implemented work soon,” Guro said.
When the policy was launched in Cagayan de Oro on August 1, bus operators who pledged their commitment included Pabama, Bachelor Express, Bagong Lipunan, Rural Transit, Super Five and Donsals Transport.
Meanwhile, Dr. David Mendoza, chief of the local DOH-10 health support division, said the policy is one of the best accomplishments of the IYCF task force in the region.
“We know for a fact that breastfeeding is very important for a child because breast milk is the cheapest, but it also contains the best nutrients,” he said, adding that one of the solutions that can solve the problem of malnutrition is breastfeeding.
He said the DOH has repeatedly emphasized how crucial the first 1,000 days are for a child. With breastfeeding, he added, the child’s maturity and nutrition indices increase, while sharpening their intelligence. (davaotoday.com)