DOH awards 3 LGUs in Cebu for ‘smoke-free’ environment

THREE municipalities in Cebu Province were recognized and awarded the Department of Health’s (DOH) 2019 Red Orchid Award (ROA) for their substantial efforts in maintaining a smoke-free environment.

For San Remigio and Tuburan, it was their second ROA, while it was Tabuelan’s first. The three towns are in northern Cebu.

According to Ligaya Moneva, DOH Central Visayas information officer, the ROA, or the search for 100 percent tobacco-free environment, which started in 2009, has been a gain for achieving a smoke-free environment in different levels.

“Try to visit these places and see for yourselves the smooth and impressive implementation of the smoke-free ordinance,” she said.

She challenged other local government units to do the same as “having a health municipality means having health people.”

San Remigio Mayor Mariano Martinez said the Municipal Leadership and Governance Program (MLGP) helped them a lot in this endeavor. The MLGP is one of the three components of the DOH-initiated Health Leadership and Governance Program.

“Actually, our big change in San Remigio was when we took the MLGP. It’s a changer. We were able to come up with programs that were given support,” he said. “We initially had a difficult time passing the (smoke-free) ordinance. Why? Because it was opposed by councilors and it took a while for the council to really pass it,” he said.

The ROA is the highest award given to municipalities, localities and national and local government agencies that have heeded the call to implement a smoke-free ordinance.

The winners are judged based on the strength of comprehensive efforts to implement 100 percent smoke-free environments using the World Health Organization’s MPOWER initiative.

“MPOWER” stands for six proven tobacco control strategies: “M” for monitor tobacco use and prevention policies; “P” for protect people from the effects of smoking; “O” for offer help to quit tobacco use; “W” for warn against the dangers of tobacco; “E” for enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and “R” for raise taxes on tobacco.

The scores for all indicators were tallied. Their total scores were converted to percentage points. The resulting tallies became the basis for the color of the orchid each nominee would receive.

The White Orchid Award is given to those which scored 71-80; the Pink Orchid Award is for those which scored 81-90. The ROA is for those who have perfected the indicators.

Winners of ROA for three consecutive years will automatically receive a Hall of Fame award.

Other ROA recipients in Region 7 are the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology 7, Bureau of Quarantine Cebu, Department of Social Welfare and Development 7, Bantayan District Jail, Carcar City Jail, Danao City Jail, Medellin District Jail, Minglanilla Municipal Jail, Naga City Jail and the Talisay City Jail.

The Bogo City Jail and the Danao Provincial Hospital received the Pink Orchid Award. (WBS)