Give ‘Morong 43′ mom chance to breastfeed baby

Senator Pia S. Cayetano today called on authorities to allow Judilyn Oliveros, one of the ‘Morong 43′ health workers being detained by government on suspicion of being communist rebels, the right to breastfeed her newborn son for at least six months at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).

The lady senator made the appeal following a decision by the Morong Regional Trial Court last week ordering Oliveros’ release on recognizance to allow the detainee to take care of her baby at the PGH

Under the court’s decision, Oliveros’ temporary release will last for three months.

“I hope the court will consider extending Oliveros’ temporary liberty from the original three months to at least six months, which is the recommended period for exclusive breastfeeding by the World Health Organization (WHO),” said Cayetano, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations

She added that returning Oliveros to her detention cell in Camp Bagong Diwa after three months will only defeat the purpose of the court’s decision that allowed her to nurse and breastfeed her son in a mother- and child-friendly institution like the PGH

Cayetano is a staunch breastfeeding advocate and principal author of the Expanded Breastfeeding Act (RA 10028) which was passed into law last year

She had earlier thanked Justice Secretary Leila De Lima for instructing government prosecutors to drop any opposition to  Judilyn’s appeal on humanitarian grounds. The non-opposition of the prosecutors became the RTC’s basis to reverse its earlier decision ordering Judilyn’s return to Camp Bagong Diwa immediately after she gave birth on July 22 at PGH

“Release on recognizance is the discretion of the court on humanitarian grounds, such as in Judilyn’s case. She’s a nursing mother whose rights as a woman were violated when she was forced to care for her newborn inside a jail cell, which obviously has inadequate facilities for maternal and neo-natal care.”

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