MANILA In light of the National Women's Month celebration, two lawmakers called on the House of Representatives for the immediate passage of the proposed Expanded Maternity Leave Bill.
In a press conference, House committee on women and gender equality head Bernadette Herrera-Dy said she hopes the bill on expanded maternity protection, which has languished in previous Congresses, would be approved in the 17th Congress.
Herrera-Dy said Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez himself had expressed support for bill's passage.
"This demonstrated Congress leadership's recognition of the importance of optimal maternal and child health as legislative priorities. Legislators have the crucial roles of ensuring that responsive, meaningful, and gender-sensitive plans are institutionalized in laws and have sufficient budget," she said.
"I am committing to fulfill these roles and I urge my colleagues in Congress to join me in this campaign. Let us end the struggle and give our women the maternity protection they rightfully deserve," she added.
Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, author of the bill on maternity protection, also pledged full support and commitment for its immediate passage.
Baguilat said local government units should popularize the proposed law and encourage mothers from all sectors to avail of their maternity leave and practice exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months.
"There is still a prevailing stigma among mothers who avail of the longer maternity leave for fear of losing opportunities at work. Let us work together to dispel these myths and focus on a single message. Expanded maternity protection is good for women, babies, economy and the country," Baguilat said.
Pending for second reading approval, the current consolidated House version of the bill proposes 100 days maternity leave. Meanwhile, the Senate version has already been approved on third and final reading.
Present laws allow women who had normal delivery to take 60 days of maternity leave; and 78 days if by caesarian section.
Source: Philippine News Agency