indigenous peoples

One dead in Cordillera tribal war

Frank Cimatu
One dead in Cordillera tribal war

A person died after the tribal war between Betwagan in Sadanga, Mountain Province, and Butbut in Tinglayan, Kalinga, escalated last Monday, July 20. 

The two tribes share a boundary, which makes a bodong or the Cordilleran peace pact necessary, but this was broken last February.

Despite the COVID-19 crisis, the tribal war worsened this week over water rights. 

A Betwagan resident was on his way to work on his irrigation when he was shot and killed allegedly by members of the Butbut community. 

Those in Betwagan insisted there was no shootout. 

But the Butbut residents claimed it was those in Betwagan who attacked them first last Monday. 

The elders of both tribes already advised their members who are still in other areas to come home and prepare for a longer conflict. They also asked their constituents to stock up on necessities. 

The police has intervened in the conflict, which started 4 years ago. 

Kalinga Provincial Police chief Colonel Davi Limmong said they started an investigation into last Monday’s skirmish.

Limmong asked the police from both towns to conduct the mediation process. 

It would not be an easy task. Since 2016, there have been 5 attempts from outside groups to bring back the bodong for good, but these were broken after a few months each time. 

The church-led Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines and the Inter-Tribal Unity and Development spoke to both parties this week to try to reinstate the peace pact. –