DepEd RO-I, under the watch of Director Ligaya Soledad T. Miguel, is fast becoming an icon for environmental protection and healthy workplace. A special citation called the 2011 Red Orchid Award was recently presented to the Regional Office in recognition of its initiative and active participation in the National Seach for 100% SMOKE FREE GOVERNMENT OFFICES.
DepEd RO-I was among the 91 DOH-recognized Center of Health and Development, a band of ecological warriors made up of LGUs and other government agencies, given special recognition during the celebration of World NO TOBACCO Day last May 31 at the Crown Plaza Galleria Manila, Pasig City for implementing the 100% Smoke-Free Givernment Office initiative.
The Red Orchid Award is a special project of the Department of Health. It is given as a recognition to those who respond positively, install necessary policies, and implement direct action to the call of achieving 100% smoke-free offices, schools, public places, local government units, and other institutions where people converge. A long-time advocate of a clean environment, Director Miguel issued a region-wide memorandum in 2007 imposing a no-smoking rule to be observed in all DepEd offices and school environs to officially stamp a smoke free initiative.
The Red Orchid award criteria are:
- Monitoring of tobacco use and installation of prevention policies;
- Initiatives to protect people from the effects of smoking;
- People-to-People interaction as a strategy to help smokers quit tobacco use;
- Actions taken to warn people about the dangers of smoking; and
- Enforcement of bands on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship.
The Red Orchid is a primus inter pares award, meaning, it is the first among equals. It is the highest award given in this particular search. It is followed by the second highest award, The Pink Orchid, and o the third tier, the White Orchid. The award was received by DepEd RO-I Budget/Finance Chief and Administrative Officer V. Bettina D. Aquino.
In the same month and during the PALARONG PAMBANSA 2011 in Dapitan City, May 8-14, the Ilocos Regional Athletic Association delegation headed by director Miguel was likewise cited as “Environmental Warriors” when it went out of its way to plant more than a thousand bakawan seedlings in a mangrove sanctuary area along the banks of Pajo River in Dapitan City. It was the only athletic delegation who engaged in a “protect our environment” initiative during the 2011 PALARO.