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BONTOC, Mountain Province – The municipality of Bontoc firmly opposed the inclusion of the municipality of Sagada of at least four boundary – disputed tourism destinations as part of its Natural Heritage and Ecological Tourism Park.
These are the Kaman-otek in Barangay Balili, Bontoc (named by Sagada as the Blue Soil), Echo Valley known to the Bontoc as Kaipitan in Barangay Alab Proper, Kaman Baneng, also in Alab Proper which was referred to as Marlboro Country Mountain by Sagada, and the Ganga Cave.
With regard to Ganga Cave, it is located deep into the boundary of Bontoc, particularly in Barangay Alab Oriente . The cave is the traditional burial site of the people of Alab in the olden times.
The municipality of Bontoc has always opposed the inclusion or insinuation of inclusion of Kaman-Otek, Kaman Baneng and Kaipitan as part of the political territory of Sagada.
In 2015, the Sangguniang Bayan of Bontoc passed a resolution strongly opposing the cadastral survey of Sagada particularly the boundary between the four barangays of Bontoc namely Balili, Alav Proper, Alab Oriente and Bontoc Ili, and the barangays of Sagada to include Suyo, Balugan, Antadao and Tetep-an.
The Cadastral Survey conducted by Sagada included some parts of Barangays Balili, Alab Proper and Alab Oriente to include the sites were Kaman Otek, Kaman Baneng and Kaipitan are located.
Aside from this, Kaman Otek, Kaman Baneng and Kaipitan were already included and declared as part of the Three-Year Tourism Development Plan of Bontoc which was submitted to the Department of Tourism.
Considering that the said tourism destinations are located within the political and territorial jurisdiction of Bontoc, the Bontoc council highlighted that it should not be included by the municipality of Sagada in its proposed ordinance declaring certain tourist sites as natural heritage and ecological tourism park.
By Alpine L. Killa