MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, Sept. 1 (PIA)  --  The frontliners in keeping the peace and order at the barangay level for the seventy barangays of this city --  more than 500 individuals  --  converged at the city gym yesterday, September 1, for the fifth and final leg of the provincewide Tanod Congress.

For their efficient work in their respective areas, the barangay tanods were honored with heart-warming messages from the civilian leaders and police officers, extolling their humble work as the police’s force multipliers, and handy assistants for just about any official errand in the barangay.

They also got insurance cards courtesy of the Philippine Red Cross - Southern Leyte, good for one year from September 1, 2015 to September 1, 2016, for a 24/7 coverage should anything happens to their lives during on or off duty.

Jonas Maco, OIC Chapter Administrator of the Red Cross Southern Leyte Chapter, explained some benefits in having the cards, like P 5,000.00 hospitalization, and burial assistance amounting to P 40,000.00 in case of death, citing several actual cases that the cards were useful.

The premiums for the year-long insurance coverage were secured by the provincial government, while the uniforms and other gadgets, for the Maasin tanods, will be taken cared by the city government, said National Mercado, Provincial President of the Liga ng mga Barangay.

Cong. Damian Mercado in his inspirational message emphasized that he can relate very well with the conditions of the barangay tanods for he once served once as a Punong Barangay. He offered to automatically renew the coverage for another year, from September 1, 2016 to September 1, 2017, to the loud cheers and applause of the intended beneficiaries.

Department of Justice (DOJ) Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, the supposed guest speaker, was unable to come at the last minute due to security reasons, Nikko Mercado announced.

Gov. Roger Mercado was also not around for he was in other places outside the province for an official business, it was learned.

City Mayor Maloney Samaco used the occasion to launch the reward system for a drug-free Maasin City, in which a reward money of P 10,000.00 is given to anyone who can pinpoint a drug pusher and haul him or her to court following a police buy-bust operation.

Samaco let loose a string for a hanging tarpaulin proclaiming the reward system. Cong Mercado and other provincial officials assisted him.

The day also ushered in the celebration of Crime Prevention Week, September 1-7, with the theme “Krimen ay tuldukan, Karapatan ay Igalang,” said the newly-assigned Police Provincial Director P/Sr. Supt. Nicerio Obaob.

Obaob, who replaced P/Sr. Supt. Marni Marcos two weeks ago, heaped high esteem on the tanods, praising them for their sacrifice in patrolling the barangay especially at night, as front line partners of the police in the community level, and as force multipliers to complement the police units in the field.  (ajc/mmp/PIA8-Southern Leyte)