March 3, 2024

The Police Regional Office-Cordillera is hopeful for the resolution of the conflict between villagers of Betwagan in Sadanga, Mountain Province and the Butbut in Tinglayan, Kalinga with the resumption of peace talks.

PRO-Cor Director, B/Gen. David Peredo said that representatives of the two ethnic groups met on January for a sipat (cessation of hostilities) where they exchanged tokens to mark the event. 

Based on the report of Guru Press, the representatives met at the Amy’s 5th Infantry Division headquarters in Gamu, Isabela on Jan. 19.

The activity was led by the Kalinga Bodong Council members Albert Addamo and Cesar Oplay from Sumadel, Tinglayan who led the dialogue with Betwagan villagers.

Also, two Army soldiers, one from Betwagan and another from Butbut facilitated the sipat ceremony.   

Peredo said the two Army representatives belongs to one unit, becoming the symbol and model of unity to their respective groups. 

A series of peace talks among the two ethnic groups is also scheduled.

PRO-Cor Deputy Regional Director for Operations, Col. Elmer Ragay said prior to this, there have been initial talks for the reconciliation efforts between the two groups.

Ragay said the representatives from Butbut earlier went to Betwagan to talk to the elders.

“Of course, they were met with some hostilities but due to the sincerity of the point persons and the two Army personnel, who belong to one unit, there will be continuous talks at a neutral area in their own preference,” Ragay said.

The ongoing rift between members of two ethnic groups spans over two decades and involves boundary dispute, intrusions, unresolved killings on both sides, among other issues.   Information has it that the Butbut group involve in the conflict covers five barangays in Tinglayan. – Ofelia C. Empian