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A MOH-BARMM executive hopes that more workplaces adopt smoke-free policies.

More institutions will fully implement tobacco-free workplaces and environment programs this year, according to the health minister of the Autonomous Bangsamoro Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

This comes after the Ministry of Health (MOH) – BARMM presented “Red Orchid Awards” to Monday institutions and government offices in the region in 2021 for successfully enforcing tobacco control measures in their facilities.

Dr. Bashary Latiph, BARMM’s health chief, said, “BARMM institutions that properly implement the anti-tobacco program this year will be rightfully honored.”

The MOH awarded local government units (LGUs), government offices, hospitals, and correctional facilities for adopting tobacco-free workplaces when BARMM was established in 2019.

During brief ceremonies here on Monday, Latiph presented awards to representatives of the Red Orchids.

The towns of Kapai and Calanogas in Lanao del Sur were named winners of the MOH Red Orchid Awards LGU category in 2021.

The Maguindanao Provincial Hospital, Buluan District Hospital, Wao District Hospital, Datu Blah Sinsuat District Hospital, Unayan District Hospital, South Upi Municipal Hospital, Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) Lanao, and IPHO Maguindanao are among the honorees in the hospital category.

The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP-BARMM) Regional Office, Cotabato City Jail, Upi Municipal Jail, Parang District Jail, Wao Municipal Jail, Malabang District Jail, Lamitan City Jail, Jolo District Jail, and Bongao District Jail all received medals in the jail facilities category.

“In addition to trophies and certificates, the Hall of Fame honorees were given a PHP500,000 project grant to help them continue their tobacco control efforts,” Latiph explained.

He also stated that LGUs named as Red Orchid grantees this year will receive an additional PHP100,000 worth of drugs to aid in the cessation of smoking and the prevention of non-communicable diseases.

“Hopefully, this program will inspire others to adopt 100 percent anti-smoking policies, protecting everyone from the harmful impacts of smoking,” he stated.

The winners are chosen based on the breadth of their efforts to create a tobacco-free environment in accordance with the World Health Organization’s “MPOWER” initiatives.

MPOWER stands for “monitor tobacco usage and preventive policies,” “protect people from tobacco smoke,” “provide support to quit smoking,” “warn about the risks of tobacco,” “enforce tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship bans,” and “increase tobacco taxes.”

The Red Orchid Awards began in 2010, when the Department of Health published Administrative Order No. 10, a comprehensive 100 percent smoke-free environment policy.

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