MANKAYAN, Benguet – The municipal government will explore other avenues on how to settle the boundary disputes it has with surrounding municipalities of Benguet, Ilocos Sur and Mountain Province.
Mayor Frenzel Ayong admitted the municipal government and those localities involved in boundary disputes with Mankayan are not actually gaining anything in terms of additional internal revenue allotment (IRA) from the national government over their disputed areas thus ‘win-win’ solutions must be explored by the concerned parties over their disputed areas for them to be able to receive their due share.
“We will try to explore informal ways of threshing out the issues that caused the disputes and work on possible win-win solutions for all the concerned parties to come up with agreements to end such rifts,” Mayor Ayong stressed.
The municipal chief executive explained when the disputes are discussed formally, each of the concerned parties usually invoke their hardline positions that will end up in a stalemate, thus, there should be other practical ways to settle such conflicts because all of the involved local governments are actually at the losing end as the disputed areas are excluded from the computation of the IRA of the barangays and municipalities involved.
Mankayan has a boundary dispute with Buguias over portions of Abatan; another dispute with Bauko, Mountain Province over portions of Am-am, Balili; a separate conflict with Tadian, Mountain Province over some portions of Dacudac and a dispute with Cervantes, Ilocos Sur over some portions of Cabiten.
According to him, any involved party can initiate informal discussions for the settlement of the decades-old conflicts so that the concerned local governments can increase their IRA from the national government.
He pointed out that the municipal government will not allow the disputed areas to be idle that is why local officials are exploring all possibilities to start settling such disputes for all concerned barangays and municipalities to benefit from the agreed areas that will be included in their areas of jurisdiction in the future once such agreements will be sealed by the involved local governments.
Under existing budgeting rules and regulations of the budget department, areas that are subject of boundary disputes by neighboring barangays and municipalities are excluded from the computation of the IRA.
Ayong expressed confidence that much could be achieved by the concerned municipalities involved in disputes with Mankayan if their municipal officials will decide to settle their conflicts through informal talks and gatherings for the crafting of practical and appropriate solutions to the said problem.