About 400 nursing mothers came together in Taguig City on Thursday to donate breast milk for the babies affected by Taal Volcano’s eruption.
Senator Pia Cayetano, in partnership with the Human Milk Bank of Taguig City, conducted a day-long breast-milk-letting event on Jan. 23 at the Lakeshore Tent in Lower Bicutan, Taguig.
The event, “Breast Milk Ko, Alay Ko,” was made open to all volunteer breast-feeding mothers, including residents and non-residents of the city.
Meanwhile, in a bid to lessen the emotional and mental stress of the evacuees in Batangas, the Health department in CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) distributed 32-inch LED Television sets to the evacuation centers.
Regional Director Eduardo Janairo, who led the distribution of the TV sets, acknowledged that some evacuees were suffering from emotional and mental stress daily while they remained in their makeshift shelters waiting to return to their homes.
He also noted that others had nothing to go back to due to the damage to their homes caused by Taal’s eruption.
The donated milk will be stored and processed by the Taguig City Human Milk Bank and delivered to the different evacuation centers in Batangas.
“The essence of this is mothers helping other mothers,” Cayetano said during an ambush interview with reporters on the sidelines of the event.
The milk-letting activity was in response to the appeal of the Batangas provincial government for breast milk donations for the families who had been displaced by Taal’s eruption. It also followed the Health department’s advisory encouraging breast milk donations to the areas affected by the disaster.
“Nobody will dispute that breast milk is best for babies. But what do we do when, for some reason, a mother cannot provide that for her baby?” Cayetano said.
“There are moms who breastfeed but during a state of stress, their milk supply gets affected. That’s why we are trying to help out to those in need.
“That is my challenge to all nursing mothers in Taguig and other places, that I hope they can contribute. For those who have reached out and expressed interest to donate, we will assist. If we can collect the milk from different mothers, we will do so.”
Meanwhile, Cayetano also said that all donated breast milk collected from the event will be pasteurized.
“We want to be sure that the donated breast milk will be in good condition for the babies who will receive them, Cayetano noted.
A breastfeeding advocate, Cayetano authored the Expanded Breastfeeding Act (RA 10028), which encourages health institutions to establish human milk banks.
Cayetano also authored the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act (RA 10821), which requires breastfeeding areas to be set up in evacuation centers to enable mothers to feed their babies in private.
“I have been a breastfeeding advocate for over 10 years now. I did my very first milk bank activity in Makati, and we've done it in Cebu and other places, including Taguig. I also personally breastfed my children, Cayetano said.
“It would also be great for other LGUs to have similar activities like this. Even if there are no calamities, breast-milk letting remains a good practice.”
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