PALO, Leyte – The Department of Health (DOH) here in the region extended recognition to government offices, provinces and local governments during the recently concluded regional awarding of health achievers.
The program, held on December 7, was highlighted with the awarding of Red and Pink Orchid Awards.
Red Orchid is the highest award conferred to those who responded positively, installed necessary policies, and implemented direct action of achieving 100 percent smoke-free community.
It is followed by the second highest award, The Pink Orchid, and the third tier, the White Orchid.
Nineteen government offices including the health insurance offices of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.in the cities of Ormoc, Naval, Maasin, Borongan, Catbalogan, and Calbayog and Catarman were given the Red Orchid Award while three government hospitals namely: Allen District Hospital, Northern Samar Provincial Hospital and Tacloban City Hospital also received the same award.
The local government units who received the Red Orchid Award were the towns of Limasawa, Padre Burgos, San Antonio, San Francisco and Silago, all in Southern Leyte; Arteche, Eastern Samar and Ormoc City.
The regional offices of the PhilHealth and Civil Service Commission 8 were recognized as hall of famers for government offices. The Northern Samar Provincial Capitol was conferred with a Pink Orchid Award.
Arteche Mayor Roland Evardone was grateful that they were the first and only municipality in Eastern Samar that was recognized by the DOH as a 100-percent implementer of the anti-smoking ordinance.
“It’s a collaborative effort that will not happen if not for the support of our community. It took us over a year to educate the people by making them feel the urgency and letting your vision be the vision of the whole community,” Evardone shared.
He added that selling of tobacco products in their town is also prohibited. They also do not have smoking areas and smoking is totally prohibited except inside their houses.
“This is for the future of our children and the generations to come. It’s been my vision that the culture of cigarette smoking in our town will end in five to ten years,” he noted.
DOH 8 Regional Director Minerva Molon urged other local governments to support them in making Eastern Visayas the home of the healthiest people.
“Let this serve as an inspiration and reminder to all who are here to continue working for the betterment of the community and its members. Our health indicators in Region 8 are still way below the national target. There are still unmet targets which affect the scenario of every community,” she said.
By: LIZBETH ANN A. ABELLA