The Metro Manila Development Authority on Tuesday praised the cities of Muntinlupa and Mandaluyong for their relentless efforts to strictly enforce anti-smoking regulations and protect their people from second-hand smoke that caused lung cancer and other ailments.
The two cities won the Red Orchid Award conferred by the Department of Health on Monday at the Century Park Hotel in Manila. The award is given annually to smoke-free compliant government agencies, local government units, and government hospitals nationwide.
Both Muntinlupa and Mandaluyong received a grant amounting to P100,000.00 .
MMDA chairman Danilo Lim said he admires the local government of Muntinlupa and Mandaluyong for their unrelenting strategy against smokers in public places and conveyances, and protect non-smokers, particularly pregnant women and children.
Lim said he is hopeful that 100 percent smoke-free environment could also be achieved in the whole Metro Manila as a way to safeguard public health.
The nominees were judged based on the World Health Organization's “MPOWER” initiative.
“MPOWER” stands for the six proven tobacco control policies, namely: M for monitor tobacco use and prevention policies; P for protect people from the effects of smoking; O for offer help to quit tobacco use; W for warn against the dangers of tobacco; E for enforce the bans on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship; and R to raise taxes on tobacco.
According to Dr. Loida Alzona, head of the MMDA Health, Public Safety and Environment Protection Office, the two LGUs could use the prize in furthering the promotion of their tobacco control programs.
Also recognized yesterday were the cities of Pasig, Malabon, Taguig and Valenzuela for winning the White Orchid Award as third runner-up.
The ROA, an awards system developed by the DOH, aims to encourage LGUs and other government agencies to actively implement the 100 percent tobacco-free policy as mandated by the DOH Administrative Order No. 10.
In 2009, the search for ROA was officially launched with three categories: LGUs, government offices and government hospitals, while the first Red Orchid Award Ceremony was held in 2010.
The MMDA was hailed as Red Orchid Hall of Famer in 2014 for consistently being the Red Orchid Awardee for three consecutive years.
Since 1991, the MMDA has been prohibiting smoking in its premises as aligned in the Best Practices in the government's National Tobacco Control Program.
Health officials said 10 Filipinos die every hour from diseases related to smoking. Non-smoking adults exposed to second-hand smoke at home or at work have a 25% to 30% increased risk of developing lung cancer.
Babies of non-smoking women who are exposed to second-hand smoke during pregnancy are at risk of experiencing a small reduction in birth weight.
Smoking kills six million people a year worldwide and will cause more than 8 million deaths annually by 2030, according to the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC also reported that cigarette smoking is also responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including nearly 42,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure.