QC ‘Buntis’ Congress promotes benefits of expanded maternity leave bill

MANILA — The Quezon City Health Department, Department of Health (DOH), Office of Senator Risa Hontiveros and Barangay Commonwealth held the “Buntis” Congress Monday to inform pregnant women, their husbands and relatives how the Expanded Maternity Leave Bill could empower every Filipino family.

The Congress, held at the Commonwealth Barangay Hall, offered the pregnant women free check-ups, dental service, vitamins and mineral supplements, and Lamaze sessions and discussed the status of the bill that aims to enhance the maternity leave benefits of pregnant women.

In her speech, Hontiveros called on pregnant women and their families to back the passage of the bill at the House of Representatives, noting that once passed into law, it would strengthen the Filipino family.

The bill seeks to extend the paid maternity leave of women to 120 days from 60 days at present. It also aims to extend the paternity leave to 30 days from the present seven days.

The Senate version of the bill has already been passed, while the House version is being pushed by Representative Emmeline Aglipay-Villar.

Increasing the length of paid maternity leave is long overdue, Hontiveros said, noting that the last time it was done was 25 years ago.

Akbayan Partylist Tom Villarin expounded on the benefits of the extended leave, which would enable mothers to breastfeed their newborn, ensuring that the latter grows up healthy.

DOH-National Capital Region director, Dr. Ariel Valencia, said the longer maternity leave would also strengthen the bond between mother and child.

A QC health official shared their programs and services for pregnant women.

The Buntis Congress was the first in a series of activities to be held to promote the benefits of the expanded maternity leave and gather support for the passage of the bill at the House. Leilani Junio/PNA-northboundasia.com