SADANGA, Mountain Province – The road to lasting peace between the Betwagan tribe of this municipality and the Butbut tribe in the nearby town of Tinglayan, Kalinga remains challenging amidst ongoing efforts to end the decades old conflict.
However, mayor Adolf Ganggangan disclosed that the good news is that there had been no skirmishes and harassment involving members of the feuding tribes for several months now since the latest shooting incident that resulted in the untimely demise of a farmer from barangay Bikigan.
“We are keeping our fingers crossed that members of both tribes have heeded our call for the peaceful settlement of the long-standing dispute so that lasting peace will reign in their communities in the future,” Mayor Ganggangan stressed.
On the identity of the suspect responsible for the killing of a farmer from Bikigan, the local chief executive pointed out that the matter is left to the Philippine National Police (PNP) to investigate and ascertain the identity of the suspect for the filing of the appropriate charges against him so that the same will not complicate the efforts to peacefully settle the dispute between the Betwagan and Butbut tribes.
He admitted that the fear of the conflict escalating remains among the local officials as the municipality had ben declared under a state of calamity since May 9, 2023 because of the brewing conflict between the said tribes.
According to him, local officials continue to be vigilant on the latest developments that will unfold so that appropriate interventions will be employed by the concerned local governments to abate the situation from worsening and that the direction that should be taken by the parties involved is towards the attainment of lasting peace.
Mayor Ganggangan said that more dialogues will likely be done between the conflicting parties in the presence of responsible officials of concerned government and law enforcement agencies and the involved local governments to allow the parties to be able to find the right solutions leading towards the attainment of lasting peace in the said communities.
The mayor underscored the importance of the reign of law and order in the various communities as it will help in boosting the economic activities of people that will eventually sustain their established sources of livelihood thereby resulting in progress in the countryside.
Ganggangan said that both parties are already fully aware of their positions on the said conflict and that they also hold the key on how to resolve the dispute in a peaceful and orderly manner so that the people from both tribes will be able to resume their economic activities without fear of being harassed or even killed.
Under Resolution No. 51, series of 2023, the municipal council placed the entire Sadanga under a state of calamity on the ground of tribal conflict, a human-induced hazard disrupting the normal socio-economic activities and creating extraordinary fear and panic among the populace.
The council asserted that it is overwhelmingly convinced that the prevailing situation in the municipality, particularly the tribal dispute with the Butbut tribe, falls under the confines of the state of calamity as enunciated under4 the pertinent provisions of existing laws and other guidelines, thus, the same warrants the declaration of Sadanga under a state of calamity.