The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unification (OPAPRU) supported the call of the local governments of Sadanga, Mountain Province and Tinglayan, Kalinga for sobriety and calm following the alleged killing of a hunter from barangay Bikigan, Sadanga, Mountain Province over a week ago to avoid the situation from escalating into a full blown tribal conflict that might result to more losses of innocent lives and inflict unwarranted damages to properties on both sides.
Acting Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unification Isidro L. Purisima underscored that the Palace is saddened by the reported continuing tension between the tribes of Sadanga, Mountain Province and Tinglayan, Kalinga that has unfortunately resulted in the demise of members from both tribes over the past several months causing the issuance of appeals from concerned local officials from both local governments to their constituents to be sober and calm as investigations are being conducted by law enforcers on the previous violent incidents that transpired between members of the feuding tribes.
He pointed out that such previous and future acts of violence have no place in a humane, democratic and peaceful society as the impact of these incidents will not only increase violence among members of the feuding tribes, but also in surrounding communities which might affect the peace and order situation of the whole cordillera region.
“We commend the efforts of the local governments and council of elders in containing the situation and pursuing peaceful means of resolving this long-time conflict. And while we have faith in the Cordillera practices and traditions, may we continue to contribute to a lasting peace by honoring the rule of law, and uphold the peace covenant that was signed by the governors of Kalinga and Mountain Province in 2022,’ Secretary Purisima stressed in a statement.
The OPAPRU assured concerned stakeholders that the government is taking all possible measures and have requested the assistance of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to help prevent the escalation of possible hostilities that might worsen the situation once the same will be out of control.
On September 13, 2022, Kalinga Gov. James Edubba and Mountain Province Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. entered into a peace agreement entitled ‘an agreement to uphold peace and harmony between Kalinga and Mountain Province’ which contains measures to be undertaken by both parties to prevent such situations of violence from arising between these tribes.
Further, the said peace covenant emphasized that the ‘just settlement’ of inter-boundary disputes should be settled by peaceful means through negotiations, mediation, cancellation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to agencies, and other diplomatic approaches which does not endanger national peace and security and justice.
Purisima said that more importantly, the peace covenant seeks to help create the foundations where genuine peace and sustainable development can be achieved by building stronger and more meaningful partnership between the 2 provinces.
The OPAPRU enjoined the elders of the feuding tribes and the governors of the 2 provinces to come together once again in the name of peace, in hopes of resolving their differences in a manner that will be beneficial for all for the sake of their respective provinces.
Earlier, Sadanga Mayor Adolf Ganggangan called on members of both the Betwagan tribe of Sadanga and the Butbut tribe of Tinglayan, Kalinga for sobriety and calm following the killing of a hunter from barangay Bikigan which is not actually part of the ongoing dispute.
He also urged the Butbut tribe to voluntarily surrender to the concerned authorities the culprit in the murder of the hunter from Bikigan in the name of peace.