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  • Writer's pictureChristian Malnawa

'A win-win compromise could end longtime dispute' - Gumilab to Butbut and Betwagan

Updated: Jul 15, 2023

Tabuk City, Kalinga – Speaking to the elders and officials of Butbut and Betwagan sub-tribes during the peace dialogue held on July 12 at Camp Juan M. Duyan, Bulanao, Tabuk City, Mayor Sacrament Gumilab of Tinglayan advised the two sub-tribes to check on what compromise should be made to end the age-old boundary dispute between them.

The two have been warring since the 1990s, which has impacted the safety of the community, particularly the children, and the livelihood of the two sub-tribes.

According to Gumilab, he was in high school then, and now that he is seated as the local chief executive of Tinglayan, he is hopeful the feud between the two will end the soonest possible time with the help of various agencies, which are now assisting in the negotiations being done for the two sub-tribes in conflict.

However, even if the government keeps on proposing resolutions to solve the problem, if both of the communities are not cooperative enough, the efforts will just go to waste.

“Makitak nga daytuy nga ar-aramiden tayo nga agsasabat tayo ket isu ti mangipakita nga kayat tayo nga maresolve daytuy nga gusot ti Betwagan ken Butbut. Ammuk nga ti solution na ket datayu met lang nga taga Butbut ken Betwagan ngem ipalubus yu nga sumrek dagiti agencies iti government tapnu agrikrikus latta iti negotiation,” the mayor said.

Meantime, during the dialogue, the body suggested anew the utilization of Sipat to facilitate the resolution of the dispute.

The elders of Tinglayan gave their nod to the decision but told the body that the Betwagan sub-tribe should back off in their previous condition - the removal of animals being grazed at the disputed area.

It is after the Sipat that they could sit together and discuss their differences and find workable means to resolve the border issue.

What is Sipat?

Sipat is a traditional method in the Cordilleras to avoid bloody clashes between warring tribes through the exchange of tokens.

Representatives from the tribes that are at odds with one another must bring and present their token to that tribe during the Sipat ceremony. If the token is accepted, it would mean that an agreement putting an end to all hostilities is made so that peace negotiations can move on.


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