May 21, 2024

TINGLAYAN, Kalinga – The second round of dialogue brokered by the Police Regional Office-Cordillera for the settlement of the boundary dispute between Butbut in Tinglayan, Kalinga and Betwagan in Sadanga, Mountain Province resulted in an agreement in principle for a sipat or peace pact.
In a meeting among representatives of the parties at the Kalinga-Mountain Province boundary (Mamaga) on Jan. 8, they focused on the primary goal of restoring peace to save lives, avoid destruction of properties, preservation of animals raised in the disputed area, continuing economic activities without fear, and harmonious co-existence.
Sadanga Mayor Gabino Ganggangan suggested for the enforcement of past agreements, seeking for mechanisms on how to enforce conditions of the ceasefire, and agreeing on enforceable provisions.
“There has to be a sipat in order to account responsibility and to have confidence in the furtherance of peace dialogues,” he said.
Sipat is an exchange of peace tokens after naming interim peace pact holders. It will serve as a bridge mechanism to pursue peace initiatives and the holders as overseers of continuing dialogue.
William Abay of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples suggested that the indigenous peoples mandatory representatives (IPMRs) of the concerned barangays be named as sipat holders.
The IPMR of Bugnay accepted the assignment but Betwagan withheld its acceptance pending presentation of the proposal before them.
Kalinga Provincial Administrator William Puday Jr. assured the support of the provincial government to the efforts of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in brokering the peace talks.
PRO-Cor Director B/Gen. R’win Pagkalinawan, who initiated the dialogue last year, committed to continue building confidence between the warring groups through cultural practices, pursuing workable solutions to the dispute based on traditional boundary settlement, and gathering of evidences from documents.
The dialogue was also attended by representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture, Department of Public Works and Highways, Philippine Information Agency, neutral ethnic groups, concerned local government units, provincial police offices, 503rd Infantry Brigade, and 50th Infantry Battalion. – Peter A. Balocnit