BONTOC, Mountain Province December 16 – A mayor of this province requested the help of the Philippine army and the police in their effort to maintain peace with a neighbouring tribe.
During the Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting last Wednesday, Sadanga mayor Jose Limmayog asked the army contingent in the province to patrol the area between Betwagan of Sadanga and Bugnay of Tinglayan, Kalinga due to reported clearing activities within the watershed of Betwagan. “There are reports that some people of Bugnay are clearing areas within the forests of Betwagan. I suspect that they will utilize the space as marijuana plantation,” Limmayog said.
Limmayog said that this might ignite misunderstanding and could gradually result to tribal war. “Please help us. You can make use of the CAFGUs to guard the mountainous slopes of Betwagan,” he reiterated.
Bugnay and Betwagan had been at odds against each other in the past which was highlighted by a weeklong gun fight in 2002. The shooting war only stopped when municipal and provincial officials from both sides interceded.
The mayor likewise asked law enforcement agencies to make their presence felt in the area between Saclit and Botbot saying that a marijuana plantation has earned a red mark for Saclit in the war against illegal drugs. But during an earlier meeting of barangay anti-drug abuse councils in the province, Saclit barangay chairman Alex Churping maintained that the marijuana plantation is within the territory of Tinglayan. “I have to clarify this because it has affected the image of the whole province,” Churping claimed.
Limmayog also announced that the reported conflict between barangay Sacasacan of Sadanga and barangay Mainit of Bontoc was already contained with the timely intervention of his office and that of Bontoc mayor Franklin Odsey. This was confirmed by the Bontoc mayor.
The alleged misunderstanding resulted from small scale mining operations.
Meanwhile, newly installed provincial police director PSSupt Tellio Ngis-o said that the illegal drugs clearing operation in all barangays is underway. “We have to clear all barangays from illegal drugs. Although the number of affected individuals is low compared to other provinces in the region, they have to be given the proper guidance from all of us,” Ngis-o said.
In the same meeting, governor Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr. called on the people of the province to be vigilant and guard themselves from all forms illegal drugs influences.
By Angel Baybay