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TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The provincial boards of Kalinga and Mountain Province will be holding a joint session next week in a still undisclosed place to try to mediate the long standing tribal conflict between the Betwagan tribe of Sadanga, Mountain Province and the Butbut tribe of Tinglayan, Kalinga to prevent the further escalation of the tribal war that will affect the prevailing peace and order situation in the region and the good relationship among the people of the said provinces.
Police Col. Davy Vicente Limmong, Provincial Director of the Kalinga Provincial Police Office, admitted that it is very difficult to secure the area being disputed by the Betwagan and Butbut tribes because of its vastness aggravated by the towering thickly forested mountains that have an air distance of over 3 kilometers.
He disclosed that there are police and military personnel that had been deployed in the area to provide security but the latest skirmish between members of the two tribes happened in a thickly forested portion of the disputed area and the same was eventually controlled upon the arrival of police and military personnel assigned in their detachment nearby.
The police official stated that both the Mountain Province and Kalinga Police Offices were able to complete their joint investigation on the alleged tribal war and discovered in the area were empty cartridges of the different firearms that were used apart from the discovery of the holes on the trees that were hit by the bullets that were fired from the weapons of the members of both tribes
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Limmong underscored that the joint session of the two provincial boards must push through the soonest to avoid the tensed situation from escalating so that short, medium and long-term solutions should already be agreed upon by the concerned parties who will be with their elders to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents that will derail the peace and order situation in the area.
Earlier, armed men from the Betwagan tribe allegedly attacked their territory that eventually resulted into a fierce gun fight that caused the death of a member of the said tribe.
The hostilities between the two tribes resurfaced on February 13, 2020 after their ‘bodong’ or peace agreement was severed after the occurrence of a shooting incident between members of the said tribes.
The branch in the peace agreement of the two tribes was allegedly rooted to a boundary dispute in a wide forested land that serves as a sanctuary of pandemic species of trees and forest products.
On September 9 and 10, 2018, both tribes entered into their 6th peace agreement hoping to put an end to their 4-year tribal rift but the occurrence of unnecessary breaches have time and again resulted to skirmishes that resulted to the loss of lives.
Members of both tribes continue to point at each other as the ones that started the latest encounter but probers are still ascertaining who started the gun fight and what prompted the same to intrude into the territory of the other.
Local officials, church leaders and other civic organizations in the two provinces are now exerting efforts to prevent the incident from escalating into a full-blown tribal war.
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