VIGAN CITY — Healthy staff. Healthy persons deprived of liberty (PDL). And when the best health is achieved, the enthusiasm to do good increases. This describes the No Smoking policy of the Bureau of Jail management and Penology (BJMP) in Vigan City headed by Jail Officer Reyland Tabios.
“We have been working for the last two years to keep our personnel and PDL healthy by rigidly implementing our 100% smoking ban policy,” he said during one of the episodes of the media forum Dap-ayan Ilocos Sur conducted by the Philippine Information Agency Ilocos Sur Information Center at the Capitol in this city.
“Every visitor of our facility is screened of the presence of drugs, cigarettes, deadly weapons. Every personnel is screened daily, every part of the facility, and its surroundings are checked on the use of cigarettes or tobacco,” he said. “Because we are not only vying for the Red Orchid Award (ROW)of the Department of Health (DOH), but also targeting the best health of everyone.”
Tabios said that banning the use of cigarettes or smoking in government offices is urged by the DOH. The Red Orchid Award that began in 2009 is the Search for 100% Tobacco-Free Environment. It is based on the DOH Administrative Order No. 2009-0010 which calls for absolute smoking ban in DOH offices, hospitals and attached agencies, government offices, and encouraged local government units to do the same in their health facilities and other public places.
“This is our way of complying to President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 26, signed on 16 May 2017, which provides for the establishment of smoke-free environments in public and enclosed places,”he said. “Because our office wants the Red Orchid this means that the office must be 100% tobacco-free,” he said. “If we do not meet this we shall be given the Pink Orchid if we are 81-90% tobacco-free, or the White Orchid if we are 71-80% tobacco-free.”
BJMP Vigan must be sure to comply with the rules. Winners of the award are judged based on the strength of their efforts in implementing the 100% smoke-free environments using the World Health Organization (WHO) MPOWER initiative. The six measures are: Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies; Protect people from tobacco use; Offer help to quit tobacco use; Warn about the dangers of tobacco; Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and Raise taxes on tobacco. Each MPOWER measure corresponds to at least one provision of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
To extend BJMP Vigan’s no smoking advocacy, its staff has been going around the city in barangays, public markets, transportation terminals to distribute flyers, and to schools to lecture on the benefits of avoiding smoking, the ways in quitting smoking, and the diseases one gets from smoking and from second-hand smoke. “We regularly conduct lectures on smoking to remind everyone in our facility of the dangers of smoking, monitor the presence of tobacco in every corner, and the health of every staff and PDL to check the progress of the program,” Tabios added, citing the diseases caused by smoking and second-hand smoke such as lung cancer, chronic respiratory disease, tuberculosis, reduced lung growth and function among infants, and development of asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis and lower respiratory infections among children.