The Kalinga Police Provincial Office together with the provincial government unit has hosted a dialogue between leaders and elders of Betwagan, Sadanga, Mountain Province and Butbut, Ting-layan, Kalinga on Oct. 12 as part of the continuing efforts to settle the decades-old boundary dispute.
The dialogue held at Camp Juan Duyan in Tabuk City was presided by the Kalinga Bodong Council of Elders chair Johnny Maymaya.
Representing Betwagan were Noe Maingag, Ramon Pinartok, Wilbert Awichen, and Abel Cay-an while the Butbut group was represented by Punong Barangay Robert Dumpao of Butbut and some elders.
Kalinga PPO Officer-in-Charge Col. Charles Domallig said the meeting resulted in the laying down of demands from both groups which could be used to find out possible common grounds to start negotiations.
“The meeting hopes to start a series of dialogue with high hopes of resolving the long-standing conflict between the two ethnic groups,” Domallig said.
On Sept. 13, a peace covenant was signed at Mt. Data Hotel in Bauko, Mountain Province by Govs. Bonifacio Lacwasan Jr. of Mountain Province and James Edubba of Kalinga for the settlement of boundary disputes between the Betwagan and Butbut.
The governors committed to resolve the issue using the traditional peace process if necessary.
The political leaders said the rift between the ethnic groups spans over two decades and involves boundary dispute, intrusions, and unsolved killings on both sides, among other issues. Presidential Adviser for Peace, Reconciliation and Unity Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr. also earlier vowed the agency’s support on the eventual resolution of the rift between Betwagan and Butbut. – Ofelia C. Empian