BAGUIO CITY (August 9, 2020) – “Matagoan” (Zone of Life), a peace zone concept instituted in Tabuk City since 1995 that has so far freed the Kalinga capital from violence among conflicting groups, is keeping tribal animosity between warring Butbut tribesmen of barangay Bugnay in Tinglayan, Kalinga and Betwagan, Sadanga, Mt. Province.
Representatives of Butbut and Betwagan tribesmen residing in Tabuk City signed on Friday a peace agreement to uphold the principles of the “Matagoan” and the provisions of the “Itabuk Pagta” (peace agreement), Tabuk City Mayor Darwin Estrañero beamed.
A long-standing border dispute between tribal folk from Bugnay barangay (Tinglayan) and Betwagan (Sadanga) has erupted into a shooting war three weeks ago.
Efforts to mediate between the tribes have not progressed so far as a supposed meeting between representatives of the two on August 5 by Cordilera police director Brig. Gen. RWin Pagkalinawan had not pushed through.
By signing the peace agreement, both parties commit not to do any form of revenge within Tabuk City, including all provinces and cities within the Cordillera including Isabela, Cagayan and Metro Manila, Mayor Estrañero explained.
Tribesmen also pledged to take responsibility for preventing members of their respective tribes from seeking revenge within Tabuk City and beyond. They also agreed to assist the military and police in identifying would-be violators of the peace agreement
from their respective tribes.
Mayor Estrañero also said, on top of facing punishment under penal laws, violators of the peace agreement are fined one carabao as provided for in the “Itabuk Pagta”, and one carabao to each of the Matagoan Bodong Consultative Council (MBCC) negotiators as mandated by the “bodong” (tribal peace system).
Both tribes have until August 12 (Wednesday) to submit to the MBCC a copy of the peace agreement signed by their respective elders and leaders in Butbut and Betwagan.
Estrañero promised the Tabuk City government will lend them two service vehicles for their transport.
The Tabuk City Mayor initiated the forging of the peace agreement through the MBCC led by its chairperson Engr. Andres Ngao-i with the help of the Philippine Army’s 503rd Infantry Brigade led by Brig. Gen. Henry M. Doyaoen, Kalinga police led by Col. Davy Limmong, and other concerned citizens.
Artemio A. Dumlao