Filipino women demand better maternity care

Activists say the Philippines lags behind ASEAN partners in the number of maternity leave days
Filipino women demand better maternity care

Leaders of various women's organizations in Manila call for the passage of a law that will provide better maternity care for women. (Photo by Angie de Silva)

November 9, 2017

Women's groups in the Philippines are demanding better maternity care that should be on par with standards set by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Their demand comes ahead of this year's ASEAN summit that will be held in the Philippines next week and will be attended by more than 20 world leaders.

"Our country has long fallen behind our neighbors in the area of competent maternity care," said Shirley Yorong, spokeswoman of the women's groups.

The Philippines is this year's chairman of the regional bloc of 10 countries.

"Sadly, and quite ironic, we are leading this year's ASEAN but we are lagging behind in terms of paid maternity leave days for our women," added Yorong.

She said the maternity leave law provides only 60 days of paid leave while ASEAN member-state Vietnam provides 120 to 180 days.

Singapore provides 112 days of maternity leave while Cambodia, Indonesia, and Thailand allow women 90 days of paid maternity leave.

Under Convention 183 of the International Labor Organization, a minimum of 98 days is prescribed for maternity leave.

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