MALACANANG PALACE, Manila – Influential leaders of several tribes in Abra and Mountain Province agreed to initially enter into a ‘sipat’ or an agreement of the concerned tribal leaders for their tribes to undergo the process of entering into the sacred ‘bodong,’ popularly known as peace pact between the tribes they actually represent.
The ‘sipat’ was reached between Abra vice governor Ronald Balao-as of the Balatoc, Masadi-it and Belwang tribes of Boliney town in Abra and Presidential Communications Operations Officer (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Paz Rafael-Banaag of the Balangao tribe in Natonin and the Gad’dang tribe of Paracelis, both in Mountain Province, which served as one of the side attractions while Cordillera leaders were awaiting for their appointment with President Rodrigo R. Duterte at the Palace Tuesday afternoon.
The ‘sipat’ between Vice governor Balao-as and Assistant Secretary Banaag was witnessed by officials and members of the Cordillera Bodong Administration (CBA) led by its president Engr. Andres Ngao-i, CPLA officers such as Vice Chairperson Juanita Chulsi, Chief of Staff Andrew Cos-agon, and Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera chaired by Mauricio G. Domogan of Baguio City and other local officials and regional line agency directors as well as private sector representatives.
Ngao-i explained the ‘sipat’ is an event wherein influential leaders of tribes agree to undergo the process of formalizing a ‘bodong’ between their tribes for a sustained peaceful relationship among the members of the involved tribes and to prevent conflicts that may arise that can compromise their relationship in their future.
He added ‘bodong’ or peace pact is not only intended to solve conflicts among the members of the involved tribes but also to promote closer ties among the members for the benefit of lasting peace in their respective places, among others.
Under the ‘bodong’ process, leaders who agreed to enter into the ‘sipat’ will go home to their respective tribes anytime to inform the community of what transpired and await suggestions from the elders and the community when to invite the members of the involved tribe for the formalization of the process.
Balao-as claimed it will be their tribe that will prepare when to invite Assistant Secretary Banaag and the members of the Balangao and Gad’dang tribes to visit their place for the formalization of the ‘bodong process’ before similar activities will be conducted in Natonin and Paracelis to replicate the gesture.
Banaag’s father and grandfather were influential leaders of the Balangao tribe in Natonin while her mother was also a respected leader of the Gad’dang tribe in Paracelis. Balao-as is also a respected leader of his tribe in Boliney town while his father was a devoted ‘ pangat’ or leader of their tribe.
Ngao-i urged the public to understand that the ‘bodong’ is not only for conflict resolution but also to sustain the harmonious relationships among tribes around the region wanting to embrace the age-old proven conflict resolution practice for lasting peace regionwide.