Da Tian Subic Shoes, Inc. in partnership with VF Corporation, Save the Children Philippines and The Centre for Child Rights and Business opened two lactation stations for its breastfeeding workers.
“As a modern company, we understand the importance of supporting the needs of nursing mothers in the workplace. We recognize that breastfeeding is crucial to the health of babies and the well-being of their mothers. However, finding a suitable place to express milk can sometimes be a challenge at work. That's exactly why we invested in creating comfortable lactation stations,” Vincent Chen, Da Tian’s President explained during the opening ceremony.
Vincent paid tribute to the most resilient group in the Philippine workforce: the working mothers. “We are grateful for their contributions, and that is why we are offering a hassle-free workplace that enables them to better balance the demands of work and family.”
He emphasized that the establishment of lactation stations is not just about providing a facility. “It is a commitment to our nursing mothers. We are dedicated to providing a supportive work environment where every employee feels respected and cared for.”
Da Tian chose June 1, a meaningful day to launch the lactation stations, as it coincided with the International Children’s Day. The lactation stations are equipped with comfortable chairs, refrigerators for storing breast milk, wash areas, and other amenities to help nursing mothers feel more at ease. Da Tian is the first factory in Subic Bay Freeport Zone to establish lactation station for its workers.
Vincent thanked Da Tian teams, VF Corporation, Save the Children Philippines, and The Centre for Child Rights and Business for their contributions in this important milestone. “Your efforts and dedication have turned this lactation room into a reality, showcasing our company's care and responsibility.”
VF Corporation, a global leader in branded lifestyle apparel, footwear, and accessories, worked closely with Da Tian to design and set up the lactation stations. Claudio Castro, VF’s Philippine Representative, explained that this initiative is part of their commitment to support working mothers.
“VF has implemented similar initiatives in other locations around the world. Da Tian is setting an excellent example for other businesses in the Philippines, by creating a more supportive and family- friendly workplace,” he said.
The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) expressed its support to Da Tian with the presence of Dr. Solomon Jacalne and Atty. Melvin Varias– managers of Public Health and Safety, and Labor Department, respectively.
Dr. Jacalne, who represented SBMA Chairman and Administrator Jonathan Tan to the launching event, underscored that despite the numerous benefits of breastfeeding, challenges and barriers still exist. “Many women face difficulties in initiating and maintaining breastfeeding due to lack of support, limited access to proper information, and societal pressures.”
Dr. Jacalne encouraged other Freeport companies to follow Da Tian’s example. “It is our collective responsibility to create an enabling environment that supports and encourages breastfeeding, providing
education, access to lactation consultants, and breastfeeding-friendly spaces in workplaces and public areas.”
Atty. Varias, for his part, congratulated Da Tian for being “the first company that established lactation stations in Subic Bay Freeport Zone.”
He said SBMA’s database listed Da Tian as a factory with more than 4,000 employees, and 70% of them are female. “Most of them may not need the lactation station right now. But sometime in the future, they probably will. There is also so much benefit from its educational value. This initiative would contribute to less absenteeism, better productivity, and better relations- as workers think more positively of their employer,”
Save the Children Philippines advocates for the integration of children’s rights in business operations and the creation of family-centered workplaces. The organization provided capacity-building support to Da Tian in developing the company’s Breastfeeding in the Workplace Policy, Family-Friendly Workplace Policy, and in setting-up the lactation stations.
Hope Esquillo Tura, its Senior Manager for Business Development, recalled when the seed of this project was first planted. “We’ve come a long way since Save the Children and The Centre conducted the Child Rights Impact Assessment in the factory in 2021. That was the time when Vincent and the management decided to take the initial steps in making Da Tian a family-centered workplace, to fully- support the well-being of their employees and their families.”
She stressed the equal importance of educating both female and male employees on the benefits of breastfeeding. “Kudos to those who support their partners or spouses in their breastfeeding journey- because it is healthy for their babies.”
The Centre for Child Rights and Business worked with Save the Children Philippines in providing technical assistance to Da Tian in setting up the lactation stations, and in strategizing its initial phase as a family-centered workplace.
Riri Siti Malikah, The Centre’s Asia Director of Services and Products, is a mother herself and has just completed a 2-year breastfeeding of her now also two-year old son. “As working mothers, we spend one-third of our time at work every day. It is really a journey, from pregnancy to delivering the baby and breastfeeding. So aside from the support we get from our families, having a supportive employer is very important as we go through this process,” Riri said.
The establishment of the lactation stations is a significant step for Da Tian towards transforming the factory into a family-centered workplace. VF Corporation, Save the Children Philippines, and The Centre for Child Rights and Business commend Da Tian for providing a supportive work environment for its breastfeeding employees. Protecting and supporting their rights will have a significant impact on their children's future, as well as on transforming their lives and the lives of their families for the better.