BAUKO, Mountain Province – Provincial officials of Mountain Province and Kalinga underscored that it will take time to resolve the ongoing brewing conflict between the Betwagan Tribe of Sadanga town here and the Butbut Tribe of nearby Tinglayan, Kalinga although there are already initial indications on the peaceful settlement of the decades old conflict.
Earlier, Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. and Kalinga Gov. James Edduba forged a peace covenant signifying the desire of the officialdom of the 2 provinces for the peaceful resolution of conflicts within their respective territories.
The prevailing ceasefire between the 2 feuding tribes is now entering its third month that is why there had been no atrocities that have transpired within the disputed area.
Lacwasan disclosed that provincial officials and elders of the Betwagan tribe are ready anytime to meet with their counterparts from Kalinga and the Butbut Tribe to further discuss ways and means on how to move forward with the peace talks to achieve a permanent solution to the decades old conflict.
He pointed out that he has been personally in touch with elders of the Betwagan Tribe and municipal officials of Sadanga to firm p their position on the said conflict which was already relayed to their counterparts from Kalinga and the Butbut tribe since the start of the ceasefire last July.
For his part, Edduba said that the provincial government recently sent an emissary to the Betwagan Tribe to signify the proposed further extension of the ongoing ceasefire with the Butbut Tribe to prevent the occurrence of untoward incidents in the disputed area that may lead to the loss of lives and inflict damage to properties which will result to the worsening of the conflict.
He stated that elders of the Butbut Tribe are also firming out their position on the tribal conflict which will be presented in the conduct of a full blown peace negotiations once both parties will agree to enter into the so-called ‘sipat’ or the exchange of peace tokens as part of the ongoing confidence building measures that will pave the way for the striking of a permanent peace agreement in the future.
According to him, the way to a peace agreement might take a longer period of time that is why the prevailing ceasefire is part of the immediate solution to prevent the occurrence of further hostilities in the disputed area and to allow both parties to reflect on the circumstances that caused the conflict for them to be able to find the appropriate solution to the same that is acceptable to both parties.
Edduba went out of his way last July 1, 2022 to visit Sagada, Mountain Province and personally attend the kick off program for the 35th founding anniversary of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) to personally inform Lacwasan of the desire of his present administration to peacefully settle the conflict between the Betwagan and Butbut tribes to achieve law and order in the whole region.
Currently, it is only the Betwagan and Butbut Tribes that have existing tribal dispute as all the other tribes with previous conflicts had already been subjected to the necessary peace agreements through the age-old and time-honored ‘bodong’ for people to be able to freely move around their desired destinations inside and outside the region without fear of being harmed.