The City of Oroquieta recently received from the Department of Health (DOH) the Red Orchid Award in recognition of the city’s tough campaign against smoking. The top distinction was given to the local government based on the criteria set by the DOH under the World Health Organization’s (WHO) MPOWER framework aimed at implementing a 100% tobacco-free environment. Mayor Jason Almonte received the award during ceremonies held in General Santos City last June 26.
Mayor Almonte stressed that the city’s anti-smoking campaign is part of his administration’s 8-point agenda. He said, Oroquieta continues to strive for the good life of its constituents through healthy lifestyle. Almonte thanked the Sangguniang Panlungsod for strengthening the city’s anti-smoking ordinance which paved the way for the intensified effort toward a smoke-free city. He also thanked the frontline implementers of the anti-smoking campaign in the city like the PNP, the City Traffic Management Board and the taskforce for their assistance, and the City Health Office headed by Dr. Clemente Almonte. He also expressed sincere appreciation to the Provincial Health Office for its enormous contribution to Oroquieta’s successful campaign.
Mayor Almonte, however, said the campaign will be further strengthened and cited the recommendations by the DOH evaluators who visited the city in May. They urged the city should not allow the designation of smoking areas inside establishments. The United Nations’ Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (UN-FCTC) does not allow smoking areas inside enclosed spaces like in offices and commercial establishments.
Almonte added, the local government of Oroquieta strongly adheres to the MPOWER framework set by the WHO. It provides for a close monitoring and evaluation of tobacco use and prevention policies; implementation of policies to protect people from the effects of tobacco use & second hand smoke; offer help to people who wish to quit smoking; warn people of the dangers of tobacco; implement absolute ban on tobacco advertisement, promotions and sponsorships in whatever form; and raising taxes on tobacco and tobacco products. (Larry)