THE Cordillera Police Regional Office is bent on coming up with a ‘whole-of-the-nation’ approach in resolving boundary disputes in the region to ensure peace and order and prevent bloody tribal conflicts, the Journal Group learned on Thursday.
Cordillera police director, Brigadier General Ronald O. Lee said the move aims to come up with a program to finally end the boundary issue in the region which has been the source of bloody conflicts among local tribes in the past.
On Sunday evening, an Army soldier was killed in a clash with a group of heavily-armed men in Tinglayan, Kalinga who stole his government-issued weapons.
Lee said a squad of Citizens Armed Auxiliary led by Sergeant Bong Pullis were conducting security patrol in Sitio Tapag in Barangay Bugnay, Tinglayan when they encountered the gunmen.
The exchange of fire resulted in the killing of Sgt. Pullis whose R4 automatic rifle with several loaded magazines and a Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol with magazines were stolen by the suspects.
Lee said the gunmen were believed to have suffered an undetermined number of casualties during the firefight which lasted for about 10-minutes.
The official said the scene of the gunbattle is being disputed by warring tribes from Tinglayan, Kalinga and Sadanga, Mountain Province.
Lee added that members of the Tinglayan Municipal Police Station and the Kalinga Police Provincial Office have joined the Army’s 50th Infantry Battalion in tracking down the suspects.
A record check showed that Sgt. Pullis was a former member of the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army who was integrated into the Philippine Army.
Last month, Lee hosted the 4th Executive Committee Meeting and Focus Group Discussion at Cmap Major Bado Dangwa in La Trinidad, Benguet to help force a lasting peace among local tribes.
The meeting aimed to resolve the conflict between the Betwagan tribe of Sadanga and Bugnay tribe of Tinglayan which was triggered by a boundary issue.
Following his predecessor Brig Gen. R’win S. Pagkalinawan’s previous action on the boundary dispute, Lee invited all concerned agencies for an update on the developments and to review efforts on the peace initiatives.
Attorney Atanacio D. Addog of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) presented the development initiatives of the Inter-Agency fact-finding mission in a chronological order.
The lawyer explained that all evidence presented by the concerned parties were validated by the NCIP as he emphasized that the decision by the inter-agency body was purely evidence-based.
Issues and concerns regarding the peace initiatives were raised by the attendees during an open forum facilitated by Cordillera Police Regional Office Chief Regional Directorial Staff, Colonel Ramil L. Saculles.
The participants include representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, NCIP, National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Agriculture-CAR; Bontoc & Kalinga, Department of Interior and Local Government, the Philippine Information Agency and the Army’s 503rd Brigade.
During the meeting, the inter-agency gave recommendations on the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) Resolution No. 01 Series of 2021, a resolution adopting RLECC-CAR Resolution No.05, 2021 which recommends the adoption of the traditional boundary as Provincial Boundary by the Provincial Governments of the Mt. Province and Kalinga.
Lee expressed his gratitude to the collective efforts of the body, adding that peace and security is their common goal as he acknowledged the recommendation to renew the body’s approach on the peace efforts.