Philippines Department of Health Red Orchid Awards: Moving LGUs to be tobacco-free

29 May 2012: The Department of Health today recognized local government units, government offices and hospitals implementing  100% tobacco-free environments through the DOH Red Orchid Awards held at the Philippine Trade Training Center in Pasay City today.

Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona said that the Red Orchid Awards is the first of its kind in the world in giving out recognition to cities, municipalities, government offices and health facilities that are strictly enforcing tobacco control measures.

 He stressed that laws and policies to effect smokefree public places for the protection of the public from exposure to secondhand smoke is one of the four main strategies to reverse the tobacco epidemic. The other three are: ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products; putting graphic health warnings on cigarette packs to encourage smokers to quit; and taxation to increase the price of tobacco products. All these and more are the standards and requirements the DOH and its partner agencies are looking for in declaring a 100% tobacco-free environment.

 Sec. Ona also urged local government officials and tobacco control advocates to work together in convincing and compelling legislators to put more premium on health when they cast their vote to put in place a reformed excise taxes on cigarette and alcohol products. He said that after almost two decades of dedicated lobbying for sin tax reforms, this bill certified as urgent by the President has passed the first obstacle – the House of Representatives’ Committee of Ways and Means. This Committee has approved House Bill 5727 with amendments.

 “This bill if passed into law, would shield the youth and the poor from the country’s leading causes of mortality, which are non-communicable diseases, and at the same time secure an estimated 33 billion pesos in additional revenues which would increase the resources of local governments and congressional districts, facilitate alternative livelihood projects for farmers, and fund the government’s universal health care program,” Ona said.

 The DOH Red Orchid Awards is composed of members from the DOH, World Health Organization, Civil Service Commission, Philippine Ambulatory Pediatric Association, Inc. (PAPA) and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance Philippines (FCAP).

 Health Assistant Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial, chairperson of the DOH Red Orchid Awards, noted the increasing number of local government units (LGUs) and government institutions joining the DOH Red Orchid Awards and wanting to be tobacco-free.  In 2010, there were 8 Red Orchid Awards winners out of 46 nominees and last year there were 30 winners out of 89 nominees. This year, 113 nominees strive for the distinction as Red Orchid awardees or having garnered a score within the range of 90 – 100 per cent. Moreover, 5 local government units (LGUs) are vying for the Hall of Fame or winning the Red Orchid Award for three consecutive years. These LGUs are: Calauag, Quezon, Davao City, Legazpi City, Maasin City and Talisayan, Misamis Oriental.

 “We must have been doing right for the majority of the population who are non-smokers that is why we are seeing some sort of a multiplier effect in the number of LGUs working hard to be tobacco-free,” ASec. Ubial said.

 Meanwhile, during the awards ceremony, the World Health Organization will also confer the World No Tobacco Day 2012 Award to Chairman Francis N. Tolentino of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for his considerable efforts and advocacy work towards a “100% Smokefree Metro Manila.” This is a campaign that Tolentino launched last year along with the 17 mayors of Metro Manila and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

 Tolentino’s political will to enforce the smoking ban in public places across the National Capital Region has also led him to advocate the passage of the Metropolitan Manila Mayors” Council Resolution 11-19 series 2011 entitled “Implementing RA 9211 also known as the Tobacco Act of 2003 and the Anti-Smoking Ordinances of the Local Government Units of Metro Manila.”

 The commitment to enforce a smokefree policy in Metro Manila also includes places like public transport terminals. In fact, several teams of Environmental Enforcers deployed in selected loading bay/terminals have already apprehended a total of 28,656 to date.

Despite challenges from tobacco industry Interferences, Tolentino promised that there would be no let-up in the campaign “within the metes and bounds of the law.” In fact, he said that MMDA will intensify its anti-smoking campaign to raise public awareness on the pernicious effects of smoking.

 Tobacco industry interference is common in the Philippines, a tobacco-growing nation. The success of the business of the tobacco industry depends on the continued patronage of its products by the public. The end goal of tobacco control policies, which is to lower consumption of tobacco products, is directly opposed to the business interests of the industry. Hence, it is expected that the tobacco industry will stop at nothing to prevent effective tobacco control policies.

 The World No Tobacco Day 2012 focuses on tobacco industry interference and the need to expose and counter the aggressive attempts to undermine the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control because of the serious danger they pose to public health.

 The global tobacco epidemic kills nearly 6 million people each year, of which more than 600,000 are people exposed to secondhand smoke. Unless governments and people act, it will kill up to 8  million by 2030, of which more than 80% will live in low- and  middle-income countries.

 In the Philippines, 240 Filipinos die everyday from tobacco-related illnesses. Smoking prevalence in the country is among the highest in the world; consequently, cigarette prices here are among the lowest in the world.

DOH Red Orchid Awards 2012: List of Winners and Finalists

The Department of Health (DOH) today elevates 5 local government units (LGUs) to the Hall of Fame of the DOH Red Orchid Awards after winning three consecutive years of effective implementation of the 100% tobacco-free environments in their areas. They are Calauag, Quezon; Davao City; Legazpi City; Maasin City; and Talisayan, Misamis Oriental.

 Meanwhile, 25 municipalities, 6 cities, 28 government hospitals, 12 government offices and 11 DOH centers for health development (CHDs or DOH regional offices) are proclaimed as Red Orchid awardees for the year.

 Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona said that the DOH Red Orchid Awards is the first of its kind in the world in giving out recognition to cities, municipalities, government offices and health facilities that are strictly enforcing tobacco control measures.

 Aside from trophies and certificates, the Hall of Fame awardees receive a P500,000 project grant to sustain their tobacco control activities, while the LGUs proclaimed as Red Orchid awardees this year receive an additional P100,000 worth of drugs and medicines that they can use for smoking cessation or control of non-communicable diseases.

 The winners are chosen on the strength of their comprehensive efforts to implement a 100% Tobacco-Free Environment following the World Health Organization’s “MPOWER” initiative. MPOWER is an acronym that denotes the six proven tobacco control policies, namely: Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies; Protect people from tobacco smoke; Offer help to quit tobacco use; Warn against the dangers of tobacco; Enforce bans on tobacco advertising; and Raise taxes on tobacco.

For each MPOWER initiative to be operationalized, certain action points or activities should be undertaken by the institutions or LGUs, and these served as the indicators for the Awards. Each indicator was rated with 0 – where there is none; 1 – where there is one; and 2 – where there is more than one. The scores for all indicators were tallied and the total is ranged on percentage points. This became the basis for the color of the orchid each nominee would receive. The red orchid is proclaimed the winner and white and pink orchids are considered as runners-up. Those who have not reach enough scores are provided with the certificate of participation.

 Several validation teams were formed and they visited the nominees between March and April. The members of the teams came from the DOH, Civil Service Commission, Philippine Ambulatory Pediatric Association, Inc. and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance Philippines.

 A validation tool was used for each of the award categories. Finalists that get the score of 90% and above are declared as winners. On the other hand, since the DOH wanted its centers for health development (CHDs or regional offices) to fully implement the 100% tobacco-free environment, the bar was raised to 95% and above to become winners. Meanwhile, there are no pink and white orchid awardees for government offices.


 The following are the complete list of winners and runners-up.


City Governments

            Davao City

            Legaspi City

            Maasin City

Municipal Governments

Calauag, Quezon

Talisayan, Misamis Oriental


City Governments

Balanga City

Dipolog City

Iloilo City

Marikina City

Roxas City

Santiago City

 Municipal Governments

Alamada, North Cotabato

Amlan, Negros Oriental

Anilao, Iloilo

Bauang, La Union

Bindoy, Negros Oriental

Buenavista, Guimaras

Calatrava Romblon

Diadi, Nueva Vizcaya

Dumalag, Capiz

Dumingag, Zamboanga del Norte

Dupax del Norte, Nueva Vizcaya

Dupax del Sur, Nueva Vizcaya

Esperanza, Agusan del Sur

Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat

Mabinay, Negros Oriental

Naval, Biliran

Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya

Solano, Nueva Vizcaya

Tantangan, South Cotabato

Tupi, South Cotabato

San Juan, La Union

San Juan, Southern Leyte

Veruela, Agusan del Sur

Villaverde, Nueva Vizcaya

Zamboanguita, Negros Oriental

 Government Hospitals

Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center

Barlig District Hospital

Bicol Medical Center

Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital

Bicol Sanitarium

Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Hospital

Cotabato Regional and Medical Center

Don Jose Monfort Medical Center  Extension Hospital

Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center

Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital

Luis Hora Memorial Regional Hospital

Lung Center of the Philippines

Mariano Marcos Memorial Medical Center

Mariveles Mental Hospital

Mayoyao District Hospital

National Children’s Hospital

Northern Mindanao Medical Center

Nueva Vizcaya Provincial  Hospital

Ospital ng Palawan

Quirino Memorial Medical Center

Region 1 Medical Center

Southern Isabela General Hospital

Tagaytay Treatment and  Rehabilitation Center

Talisay District Hospital

Veterans Regional Hospital

Western Visayas Medical Center

Western Visayas Sanitarium

Zamboanga City Medical Center

 Government Offices

Butuan City Jail

Civil Service Commission – Region 1

Commission on Population- CAR

Department of Education – Region 1

Land Transportation – Region 10

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority

National Food Authority – Santiago City

Nueva Vizcaya Police Provincial Office

Provincial Health Office – Nueva Vizcaya           

Provincial Health Office – Misamis Occidental

Santiago City Police Office

68 Infantry “KAAGAPAY” Battalion, 2ID, PA, (AFP) – Region 12

 DOH Centers for Health Development (CHDs)

CHD – Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), 3-time winner

CHD – SoCCSKSarGen (Region 12), 3-time winner

CHD – Ilocos (Region 1)

CHD- Central Luzon (Region 3)

CHD – CaLaBaRZon (Region 4-A)

CHD – Bicol (Region 5)

CHD – Western Visayas (Region 6)

CHD – Central Visayas (Region 7)


CHD – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)


City Government

            Kidapawan City

            Municipal Government

            Sablan, Benguet

Government Hospitals

Ballesteros District Hospital

Bataan General Hospital

Caraga Regional Hospital

Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital

Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center- Talavera Extension

Kapangan Medicare Community Hospital

Lt. Tidang Memorial  Hospital

Rizal Medical Center

St. Anthony Mother and Child Hospital

San Lorenzo Ruiz Women’s Hospital


CHD – Cagayan Valley (Region 2)

CHD – MiMaRoPa (Region 4-B)

CHD – Eastern Visayas (Region 8)

CHD – Northern Mindanao (Region 10)

CHD – Davao (Region 11)

CHD – Metro Manila (NCR)


 City Governments

City of San Fernando, La Union

Surigao City

Tuguegarao City

Government Hospital

Southern Philippines Medical Center


Government Offices

Department of Budget and  Management –  Region 10

Department of Education – Region10

Department of Education – Misamis Occidental

Provincial Health Office – Compostela Valley


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