Multisectoral task force formed to settle Kalinga tribal row

LAGAWE, Ifugao — Kalinga Vice Governor James Edduba has confirmed that peace is reigning between Kalinga’s Lubo and Tulgao tribes after the two murder suspects that sparked a conflict were put behind bars.

On the sidelines of the Cordillera Day celebration here over the weekend, Edduba said Kalinga Governor Jocel Baac had formed a multisectoral task force to help restore the “bodong”(peace pact) between the two Kalinga tribes.

The task force, he said, consists of members of the religious organizations, the Philippine Army, Kalinga Bodong (Peace) Council (KBC), and other sectors. He said the task force would negotiate further retention of the peace pact, applying the Kalinga indigenous practice of settling disputes.

The formation of the task force came after the last suspect surrendered to authorities last July 12.

In an earlier interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Edduba quoted the Kalinga governor as saying, “It is only when the suspect surrenders that formal negotiations under the indigenous system of settling disputes would commence.”

Edduba also cited the Bodong Summit among Kalinga tribes last February, where the tribesmen had agreed that negotiations to settle disputes would start only after a suspect in the crime surrenders to the authorities.

On June 30, two members of the Tulgao tribe allegedly shot to death a farmer and seriously wounded his brother in front of a store in Purok 4, Bulanao City, Tabuk City, Kalinga. Both victims belonged to the Lubo tribe of Tanudan, Kalinga.

The Tulgao tribe is from the province’s Tinglayan town.

Edduba said the peace pact between the two tribes was not severed, although there was a violation of the “pagta” (agreement) of the “bodong”.

The vice governor stressed that relations between tribes are not severed, as long as there are negotiations.

Andres Ngao-I, co-chairman of the Kalinga Peace and Order Council (KPOC) and Kalinga Bodong Council (KBC), said a series of talks between the elders of the two tribes are set in the coming days to strengthen their “bodong” agreement.

He was glad to note that nobody seems to be trying to avenge the victims.

Ngao-I said the “pagta” (agreement) entered into by the two tribes many years ago dictates that the elders would talk among themselves on what to do with a violator and apply the indigenous way of settling disputes. But, as dictated by the country’s law, the violator could also be imprisoned, he said.

Kalinga province strongly adheres to the indigenous way of settling community disputes, applying traditional cultural practices, where “bodong holders” (peace pact holders), respect the elders and come together to assure the maintenance of peace and order in the place. (