BAUKO, Mountain Province – The conduct of continuous dialogues between elders of the Betwagan peoples of Mountain Province and the Butbut peoples of Kalinga will contribute in ascertaining the appropriate solutions to the more than two decades of conflict that prevailed that deterred the existence of lasting peace in the said areas.
Gove. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. said that since the signing of the peace covenant between him and Kalinga Gov. James Edduba last year which was witnessed by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Carlito Galvez, Jr., numerous initiatives had already been done to help in achieving peace between the feuding tribes.
He disclosed that the president of the State-run Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC) issued a memorandum declaring all campuses of the higher education institution as peace zones while the district engineer of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) issued an order declaring peace in all the national roads that traverse the province.
The governor also assured the commitment of the provincial government for the sustained effort between all the parties involved to work out solutions to convince elders of both tribes to agree to the striking of a peace agreement that will put an end to the conflict.
For his part, Edduba claimed that he is closely working with Lacwasan to arrange high level talks that will be presided over by Secretary Galvez to assess the previous interventions that had been done and to plan out the implementation of concrete solutions that will convince the elders of the feuding tribes to agree on having a lasting peace agreement with each other.
He pointed out that what is important at this time is to ensure that there will be no untoward incidents that will ignite the conflict that will lead to further losses of lives and damages to properties so that there will be an enabling environment for the peace agreement to be realized.
According to him, both tribes are insistent on their respective positions on the boundary dispute which has been the root cause of the tribal war that have already resulted on the losses of lives and damages to properties that is why despite the conduct of initial dialogues initiated by the law enforcement agencies, no concrete solution was laid down.
The local chief executive revealed that the Police Regional Office will attempt to break the deadlock with the upcoming conduct of another round of dialogue involving the elders of the Betwagan and the Butbut peoples with the active participation of various agencies that have a stake in the prevailing boundary dispute to allow the presentation of the proposed interventions for the appreciation of the parties involved.
Earlier, a similar dialogue had been conducted by the law enforcement agency in Tabuk City several months ago but elders of both tribes remained firm on their respective positions relative to the boundary dispute that is why the same ended in a deadlock although various government agencies were given tasks where such results will be presented in future consultations.
Edduba admitted that the problem is that no one would like to be at the losing end of whatever agreements that is being proposed to settle the boundary dispute that will open the opportunity to end the said dispute that is why what matters at present is to engage the involved parties to avoid future conflicts that might ignite the dispute.