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GMA confers award on breastfeeding queen

- Paolo Romero -

MANILA, Philippines - President Arroyo yesterday conferred the title “Breastfeeding Queen of the Philippines” to a German doctor who opted to live in the Philippines with her family to promote breastfeeding in the battle against malnutrition and hunger.

Susann Roth, 32, breastfed her two children – four-month-old Lillan Julie and two-year-old Joelle Sophie – simultaneously. The two children were also present at the awarding ceremonies yesterday at the Ceremonial Hall in Malacañang.

Roth said it was unfortunate that many Filipino mothers have not been breastfeeding because of the powerful multi-billion peso lobby of infant formula in the country.

“Why are there so many Filipino care givers? Because Filipinos are naturally caring and breastfeeding is very much part of that. Unfortunately, there is a strong effort to push for infant formula,” she told reporters.

Roth also said the short maternity leave in the country is hampering the promotion of breastfeeding.

Roth is a doctor of medicine who holds a Ph.D and is finishing her Masters in Public Health.

Mrs. Arroyo also awarded the “Breastfed Princess of the Philippines” titles to Mikaela Fudolig and Sierra Isabelle Castillo.

Fudolig graduated summa cum laude from the University of the Philippines in 2007 at the age of 16 with a degree in physics, while 20-year-old Castillo is a soprano of the world-famous UP Singing Ambassadors. She was breastfed both by her mother and grandmother.

Given the title “Breastfed Princes of the Philippines” were the Tagala brothers, who are members of the band Vegetarian Voices and Violins. Jonathan plays the flute, saxophone, guitar and piano while Daniel plays the cello. David Tagala plays the viola, Jimmy Jr. and Samuel play the violin.

The awarding was organized by the Children for Breastfeeding Inc. headed by Dr. Elvira Henares-Esguerra in coordination with the Department of Education.

Mrs. Arroyo earlier said she breastfed her children, Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo, Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado Arroyo, and Luli Arroyo-Bernas for six months.

A Palace statement said the awards highlighted the importance of breastfeeding in the battle against malnutrition and hunger.

“Breast milk, studies confirmed, ensures the life-long health and well-being, emotional stability and intellectual development of future generations,” the statement said.

“Studies also show that mother’s milk is the best food which helps protect the baby against most illnesses at no cost,” it said.

Based on data from the Department of Health (DOH), the Philippines is among the countries with high prevalence of deaths among children under five years old.

The DOH said these deaths could have been prevented if the children were breastfed exclusively through the first six months after birth.

A PALACE

BECAUSE FILIPINOS

BREASTFED PRINCES OF THE PHILIPPINES

BREASTFED PRINCESS OF THE PHILIPPINES

BREASTFEEDING

BREASTFEEDING INC

BREASTFEEDING QUEEN OF THE PHILIPPINES

CAMARINES SUR REP

CEREMONIAL HALL

MRS. ARROYO

ROTH

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