TABUK CITY, Kalinga – A veteran tribal conflict mediator dispelled fears of an impending tribal war among several tribes in the province as a result of the police operation in Lubuagan town that resulted in the killing of four policemen, the injuring of three other law enforcers as well as the death of a notorious criminal during implementation of his warrant of arrest by combined police operatives in his hideout Tuesday morning.
Engr. Andres Ngao-I, a veteran tribal conflict mediator and chairman of the Council of Elders of the Regional Committee on Indigenous Peoples Education, said there will be no tribal war even if the slain policemen come from various tribes in the province and the wanted individual who was killed was a result of a lawful and legitimate police operation, thus, the bodong of the tribes where the policemen and the wanted person came from are not actually severed.
“We understand that the operation of the combined police operatives in serving the warrant of arrest against the wanted person was considered to be lawful and legitimate. We also have to emphasize that there were no other armed civilians who were involved in the encounter that is why there is no possibility of the eruption of a tribal war among the tribes involved,” Ngao-I stressed.
Earlier, five persons including a top most wanted person in the national level facing various heinous crimes were killed while three policemen were injured during a 5-mminute gun battle between the wanted person and law enforcers who served his warrant of arrest in his residence at Lausong, Canao, Lubuagan town, Tuesday morning.
Senior Superintendent Brent Majaco, provincial director of the Kalinga Provincial Police Office, identified the fatalities as PO3 Cruzaldo Lawagan, PO1 Jovenal Manadao Aguinaldo, PO1 Charles Ryan Dongui-is Compas, PO1 Vincent Tay-od, all of Kalinga and Willy Sagasag, the subject of the warrant of arrest with a monetary reward of P600,000 for his arrest while the wounded policemen were Senior Inspector Eduardo Liclic, PO1 Ferdie Liwag, and PO1 Ferdinand Asuncion.
The slain policemen come from the sub-tribes of Sumadel, Tanglad, Naneng and Dao-angan while the wanted individual who was killed in the police operation belongs to the Lubuagan tribe.
The operating troops were supposed to serve the warrant of arrest of Sagasag who was cornered in the crime scene when they were met by a volley of gun fire from the wanted individual that inflicted the casualties and injuries to the victims.
Majaco, who was the one who was able to neutralize the wanted person during the brief gun fight, said there were no other civilians or armed men who were involved in the shootout, except for Sagasag who opted to fight it out with the arresting law enforcers.
Sagasag is facing murder, frustrated murder, robbery with intimidation and violence issued by various courts in the region and nearby regions in Northern Luzon.
Recovered by the police operatives from Sagasag were 36 pcs of 5.56 mm Cartridge cases while one M16, 1 black rig, one long plastic magazine, 3 short and 3 long metal magazines, and 127 rounds of live ammunition for M16.
Gov. Jocel C. Baac said the provincial government will give P50,000 each as financial assistance to the bereaved families of the slain law enforcers while P30,000 each will be given to the families of the wounded policemen aside from the fact that the local government will be shouldering the hospital and medical expenses of the cops confined in the hospital.
Baac underscored the service of the warrant of arrest to the wanted individual that resulted to the counter only shows that local officials do not tolerate the presence of wanted individuals who seek refuge in any part of the province, citing that local officials will not make actions that will compromise the peace and order in the province.
The governor asserted Kalinga still remains to be peaceful and orderly amidst the recent encounter.