Palo, Leyte—The Department of Health Eastern Visayas Center for Health and Development awarded three local government units their respective Red Orchid Awards and Red Orchid Hall of Fame Awards on September 15, 2022, at The Oriental, Palo, Leyte, for their exemplary contributions for the Department of Health’s anti-smoking campaign.
Mapanas, Northern Samar received their Red Orchid Award for the year 2021 while Ormoc City and Arteche, Eastern Samar both received prestige in the Red Orchid Hall of Fame for winning the Red Orchid Award for three consecutive years.

It can be recalled that Ormoc City is one of the leading local government units who committed to strictly implement the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003. In 2018, then Mayor Richard I. Gomez, together with the City Health Office and Ormoc City Police Office created a taskforce to jumpstart Ormoc City’s implementation of the anti-smoking campaign. The task force’s Oplan Baklas took down cigarette posters within 100-meters of government buildings and school zones. The task force also visited Maasin City, who was previously awarded a Red Orchid Hall of Fame Award, to study best practices which can be replicated within the city. Mayor Gomez said that if Ormoc City was able to become the safest city in the country, it is not impossible for them to also become the number one non-smoking city in the Philippines.

The Red Orchid Award was initiated in 2009 and is one of the longest running incentive programs of the Department of Health to strengthen efforts in implementing a 100 percent smoke-free environment among government agencies. Modeled after the WHO MPOWER initative and the DOH Administrative Order No. 2009-0010, the Red Orchid Awards’ success among government agencies is now being replicated by local government units in their own health facilities and public spaces. Now, local government units who implement an absolute smoking ban are given a Red Orchid Award for their exemplary work based on the sustainability of their comprehensive efforts on the anti-smoking campaign.