Launching blue ribbon campaign and smoke-free merit badge
Province of Albay, the Philippines
A two-part meaningful ceremony was conducted 28 June 2012 in Legazpi City, the capital of Albay Province, spearheaded by the Smoke-Free Albay Network (SFAN) in collaboration with the World Health Organization. This ceremony marked a new wave of the smoke-free campaign in Albay.
More than 200 guests attended the event from the 18 cities and municipalities of Albay, which included City and Municipal Health Officers, Mayors, Members of the Albay Provincial Board, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of the Philippines (BSP and GSP), the media, business owners and the members of the SFAN.
A series of technical working group meetings were held to prepare for this grand event. The technical working group was composed of nine representatives from SFAN member agencies: Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Information Agency, BSP, GSP, Provincial Health Office, Albay Police Provincial Office, KABALIKAT (a group of radio communicators) and local civil society groups, Pinoy Power Coalition and ADD+VANTAGE and chaired by the member from the Provincial Health Office.
Blue Ribbon Campaign advocacy materials such as polo shirts were produced prior to the event. DOH provided advocacy fans to manifest their support to the Blue Ribbon Campaign.
The ceremony was opened by SFAN Chair Herbert Borja who proudly welcomed the guests and encouraged the LGU leaders to join SFAN in advocating for smoke-free Albay.
Launching of the Blue Ribbon Campaign commenced with a video presentation showing the campaign conducted in Singapore, followed by the awarding ceremony. The awardees include four local government units (LGUs) of Albay Province, namely, Ligao City, Tabaco City, Municipality of Daraga and Legazpi City, who are “early adopters” in enacting a local smoke-free ordinance. In addition, Legazpi City recognized 10 local business establishments promoting 100% smoke-free indoor environments, emphasizing the establishments’ concern in protecting their customers against second-hand smoke.
Mayor Geraldine Rosal of Legazpi City which received DOH’s Red Orchid Award in 2010 encouraged other LGUs to make their cities and municipalities smoke-free. In her message, she emphasized how hard it was the first time they implemented the smoke-free ordinance of Legazpi in 2005, but with the support of partners and the political will of then Mayor Noel Rosal, the implementation was sustained.
Following the Blue Ribbon awarding ceremony, another awarding ceremony for the Smoke-Free Merit Badge was carried out. The Merit Badge is to recognize the choices of the youth to be smoke-free and for completing certain tasks and challenges given to the scouts prior to the event such as posting of no-smoking stickers to public utility vehicles, collecting ashtrays and cigarette butts, convincing smokers to quit and making scrapbooks on smoking. The Merit Badge was awarded to 10 scouts from GSP and BSP.
In November 2011, Albay adopted a local smoke-free ordinance. In addition to the prohibition of smoking in public places, the ordinance also prohibits the purchase of tobacco products to minors as well as sales to minors and restricts tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship activities. The new smoke-free ordinance gave further momentum to the smoke-free initiative of Albay.