BONTOC, Mountain Province – Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. and Kalinga Gov. James S. Edduba recommended for the establishment of a common border control in the disputed area between the Betwagan tribe of Sadanga, Mountain Province and the Butbut tribe of Tinglayan, Kalinga until such time that the brewing conflict will be resolved by the contending parties.
The two governors made the recommendation in the light of separate shooting incidents that caused casualties between the feuding tribes aside from another casualty from the side of Bikigan, Sadanga, Mountain Province that might aggravate the ongoing tension.
Both local chief executives pointed out that the common border control should be jointly maintained by personnel of the Mountain Province Provincial Police Office and the Kalinga Provincial Police Office to ensure proper coordination among the law enforcers in maintaining law and order in the disputed area and prevent the situation from escalating into a full blown tribal war that will lead to further loss of lives and inflict more damages to properties.
At present, personnel of the Mountain Province Police Office manning the area are reportedly situated within the side of Betwagan while personnel of the Kalinga Provincial Police Office are based in an area nearer to Tinglayan, Kalinga.
Officials and concerned sectors of both provinces are doing their part to come up with appropriate solutions to the long-standing conflict between the two tribes to allow members of the said tribes to peacefully pursue their activities within the disputed area aside from bringing back the harmonious relationship between the feuding tribesmen.
Earlier, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unification (OPAPRU) joined officials of Mountain Province and Kalinga in calling for sobriety and calmness between members of the two tribes after the untimely demise of a farmer from Bikigan, Sadanga who was allegedly shot by members of the Butbut tribe to avoid the conflict from escalating.
Lacwasan and Edduba underscored that both tribes should already agree on the proposals being laid down by concerned sectors because no concrete solution to the problem could be achieved if both the feuding tribes will insist on their respective positions which will not solve the issue and will surely have a negative impact on the ongoing efforts to achieve lasting peace in the Cordillera.
The Betwagan tribe proposed that prior to the proposed exchange of peace tokens between the elders of both tribes, the Butbut tribe must pull out all their animals from the disputed area as part of the confidence building measures for the forging of the ‘bodong’ or peace pact between the said tribes in the future.
However, the Butbut tribe outrightly rejected the aforesaid proposal that resulted in a deadlock in the interventions being undertaken by the officials of Mountain Province and Kalinga.
Lacwasan and Edduba asserted that the challenges in their efforts to solve the conflict is not going to deter them from continuing their peace-making efforts because there will come a time that proposed solutions will be acceptable to both parties.