BONTOC, Mountain Province – The provincial government is currently studying the legality of the executive order issued by Sadanga Mayor Gabino Ganggangan that ordered the closure of the Bontoc-Tabuk national road to prevent the same from being used by tourists and illegal transporters of marijuana during this period of the community quarantine.
Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. said that he recently referred to the Provincial Legal Office (PLO) headed by lawyer Thomas Kiwang the letter of Tinglayan, Kalinga Mayor Sacrament Gumilab seeking his reversal of Mayor Ganggangan’s order because the Bontoc-Tabuk Road is classified as a national road and that the same could not be closed to traffic.
He stated he will await the recommendation of the PLO on the matter although there was already a previous post by Mayor Ganggangan on his social media account that his order has no legal basis to stand on.
The governor pointed out there is no way that tourists will be prohibited from passing through the said road because tourists and tourism-related activities are still prohibited under the prevailing modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) in the province and neighboring provinces.
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Earlier, Mayor Ganggangan issued an executive order that prohibited tourists from passing through the Bontoc-Tabuk Road to prevent the same from being used as a means of illegally transporting marijuana from the remote villages of Tinglayan, Kalinga to the lowlands passing through either Tabuk City or Bontoc.
However, Mayor Gumilab appealed the matter to the provincial government seeking the reversal of the aforesaid decision because the closure of the road is illegal and would impede the smooth flow of vehicular to and from Kalinga and Mountain Province and vice versa.
According to him, the provincial government has a maximum of 30 days to render a decision on the matter and the road should remain open to for travellers wanting to go to their desired destinations in the two provinces provided they possess the required travel documents allowed under existing community quarantine guidelines.
Lacwasan urged the local officials of the two municipal governments to continue engaging each other for the possible resolution of existing conflicts, especially between the Betwagan Tribe of Sadanga and the Butbut Tribe of Tinglayan, because the realization of lasting peace at these trying and difficult times is instrumental in achieving the desired state of development in the countryside.
He expressed his gratitude to the individuals and groups trying to reach out to both tribes for the immediate resolution of the long standing rift between the two tribes that escalates from time to time often affecting the peace and order situation in the two provinces and the whole region.
Lacwasan remains optimistic the long standing conflict between the two tribes will be resolved the earliest possible time to avoid unnecessary incidents that will affect the state of the peace and order in both the affected provinces as peace is the foundation of development.
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