TABUK CITY, Kalinga: The Tinglayan and Tulgao tribes of Tinglayan, Kalinga whose festering boundary dispute has degenerated into a shooting war have declared peace zones in an attempt to prevent hostilities from spilling over into other areas.
Acting Gov. James Edduba reported that with the help of peacemaking individuals and groups, elders of the two tribes residing in the city have signed a covenant declaring this city, the town of Rizal and the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela as peace zones.
He said the covenant imposes a fine of one carabao, for each of the five neutral tribes that helped in forging a truce, for every violation of the agreement.
A similar covenant was forged, this time covering Baguio City and La Trinidad in Benguet, signed on August 31 as well as another for the workers from both tribes in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone is being worked out as of press time.
Edduba added that local officials, the police, the clergy and authorities of the Mt. Province State Polytechnic College have also prevailed upon the youth from both tribes studying in Bontoc, Mountain Province to enter a peace agreement so as not to disrupt their studies.
Edduba, a member of the Tulgao tribe, related that the boundary dispute between the two tribes which could now be more than a century old has been resolved each time a bodong or peace pact changed hands but was never comprehensively settled.
The conflict came to a head only when in their 2013 bodong celebration was implemented this year with the allocation of P500,000 in the 2017 budget of Tinglayan for the fencing of the disputed boundary.
Tulgao people married to Tinglayan women residing in Tinglayan headed by former mayor Fernando Abay were tapped to construct the fence according to the agreement signed in 2013. But upon learning of the location of the fence, the Tulgaos transfered it to where majority of the tribe members believe the boundary should be.
The Tinglayans on Monday declared the bodong severed then sent home Tulgao employees and students working and studying in the poblacion.
Edduba said that at midday of Tuesday, a firefight ensued lasting until about 4 p.m. when Philippine Army troops and policemen arrived in Tinglayan to stop the fighting that wounded two Tinglayan fighters.
Under Kalinga traditions, tribal warfare extends to all places where members of the tribes live during a tribal war.
This prevented tribe members living, working or studying outside tribal territories from venturing outside their homes until peace is restored or a peace zone is declared.
ESTANISLAO ALBANO JR.