The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office IX was recognized by the Department of Health as a “RED ORCHID Awardee” for having garnered a total score of 102.13% based on the set of criteria for implementing a 100% Tobacco-Free Environment and following the World Health Organization’s “MPOWER” Framework.

The DOH Red Orchid Awards is the Search for 100% Tobacco-Free Provinces, Municipalities, Cities, Government Offices, Government Hospitals and DOH Centers for Health Development.

The said award follows the World Health Organization (WHO) FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON TOBACCO CONTROL Article 8 that recommends adoption of measures to provide protection from exposure to smoke in indoor workplaces, public transport, indoor places, and other public places, as well as REPUBLIC ACT 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 that provides protection from exposure to tobacco smoke.

DSWD IX has undertaken major steps which paved way towards behavioral modification among the smokers. Advocacy activities were conducted through lectures, development and reproduction of IEC materials and poster making contest in order to generate materials on graphic health warnings.

In 2014, the agency created the DSWD Tobacco Control Committee to adopt and promulgate a 100% Smoke-Free Policy within the Field Office premises. Guidelines were formulated and disseminated to ensure a common understanding of the program.

Along with this campaign, Twenty-three (23) staff of DSWD underwent training on smoking cessation and counselling. Since the policy was implemented, there are four (4) confirmed quitters of smoking.

The agency was nominated for the Red Orchid Awards and subsequently passed the validation at the regional and national levels.The awarding ceremony was held on November 10, 2016 in Royce Convention, Zamboanga City.

In 2009, the Department of Health (DOH) issued Administrative Order No. 10 on COMPREHENSIVE 100% SMOKE-FREE ENVIRONMENT POLICY that calls on the absolute smoking ban in DOH offices, hospitals and attached agencies and encouraging local government units to do the same in their health facilities and other public places; while the Civil Service Commission issued Memorandum Circular No. 17 in 2010 on SMOKING PROHIBITION BASED ON THE 100% SMOKE-FREE ENVIRONMENT POLICY in all government agencies. (With Reports from Dr. Gracia Gacrama) ##