SAGADA, Mountain Province – Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. and Kalinga Gov. James Edubba agreed to go back to the drawing board to explore ways for a ‘win-win’ solution that will settle the brewing tribal conflict between the Betwagan tribe of Sadanga, Mountain Province and the Butbut tribe of the neighboring town of Tinglayan, Kalinga.
The agreement between the two provincial chief executives was reached during their short meeting right after the kick off ceremony for the celebration of the 35th founding anniversary of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) which was held at the St. Mary’s School, Inc. here.
Edubba attended the 35th CAR founding anniversary kick off rites purposely to reiterate the province’s support to the region’s renewed quest for autonomy and personally bring to the attention of Gov. Lacwasan his desire to jointly work together for the settlement of the dispute that is affecting the overall peace and order situation in the whole region, being the only tribal conflict that festered for a number of decades.
For his part, Lacwasan immediately agreed to Edubba’s proposal for them to personally oversee and work together for the settlement of the tribal conflict to achieve lasting peace in the said areas and the whole region.
While there were gains in the previous peace negotiations in the past, Lacwasan pointed to the need to continue negotiating for a sustainable settlement with the active participation of all concerned so that all issues and concerns raised will be given the appropriate attention by the concerned government agencies and local governments for the satisfaction of the involved parties.
The governors also agreed to engage the involved tribes within their jurisdiction to inform them about the said agreement for the settlement of their dispute and to solicit their active participation for them to achieve the long-desired truce that will put an end to the threats that the conflict poses to the overall peace and order situation in the region.
Both officials stipulated they are peace advocates thus their work will to continuously explore all possible options to convince the parties to agree to a ‘sipat’, or the so-called exchange of peace tokens, which will be an initial step towards the attainment of a peace agreement to end the said conflict which had affected mostly women and children from the two feuding tribes.
The two provincial chief executives pointed out that women and children are most affected whenever untoward incidents transpire between the members of the conflicting tribes thus law and order must be mediated between the said tribes the soonest.
Further, Lacwasan and Edubba expressed their gratitude to each other for their openness to the idea of continuing the failed negotiations due to various factors in the past several years because it is the peace and order situation of the region that is at stake.
The Betwagan tribes belongs to a single barangay in Sadanga town while the Butbut tribe inhabits 5 barangays in nearby Tinglayan town.