City of Koronadal, South Cotabato – The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Office XII located at the Prime Regional Government Center, Carpenter Hill, Koronadal City inaugurated and formally opened its Wellness, Breastfeeding and Child-Minding Room (Wellness Room) with a simple program on March 18, 2019. The event was one of the highlights of the Women’s Month CY 2019 celebration of NEDA XII.

This activity was witnessed by invited guests from the Civil Service Commission (CSC) Field Office-South Cotabato and Department of Health (DOH)-South Cotabato. Reverend Father Romeo Buenaobra, DCM was the celebrant of the facility’s blessing. 

NEDA XII Regional Director Teresita Socorro C. Ramos, in her opening message, shared that the Wellness Room seeks to provide gender-sensitive services to address the wellness and welfare concerns of NRO XII personnel. It aims to promote staff health, adopt and maintain healthy behaviours for a well-rounded physical and mental development, as well as increase staff productivity.

RD Ramos added, “NRO XII is a child-friendly agency. The Wellness Room will also serve as a temporary facility for kids, siblings or parents of NEDAns while at work, or for pregnant/lactating mother employees.”  There are instances where working parents or NEDAns have no one to take care of their dependents, especially toddlers.  The staff profile also revealed that out the 43 NEDA XII employees, about 25 percent are women of reproductive age.

CSC Field Director Teresita R. Antolin of South Cotabato Field Office gave a short message and highlighted the importance of employee wellness and lactation stations in government agencies. She congratulated NRO XII for this worthy endeavour that can be emulated by other government agencies.

The establishment of Wellness Room is in compliance to Republic Act 9710 – Magna Carta of Women Act of 2009, RA 7600 – Rooming-In and Breastfeeding Promotion Act, RA 10028 – Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act, related Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circulars on the subject, and the NRO XII Wellness, Gender and Development Program. 

NRO XII tapped the assistance of the Organization of NEDA Employees (ONE) XII to donate children’s books, used toys, educational and advocacy materials and other gadgets to fill in the requirements of the facility. These materials will encourage productive activities among users of the Wellness Room. 

The room is strategically located at the ground floor of the NEDA XII building for easy accessibility. It is envisioned to become the model Wellness, Breastfeeding and Child-Minding Room at the Prime Regional Government Center, SOCCSKSARGEN Region. (Evie A. Cabulanan and Lalaine M. Sajelan, NEDA XII)