A Report on the Restoration of the Sumadel-Botbot Bodong

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A Report on the Restoration of the Sumadel-Botbot Bodong (Peace Pact)

by AUGUSTUS ULAT SABOY

Note: This is the full report submitted by then Kalinga-Apayao Provincial Administrator Gus Saboy to Governor Amado B. Almazan on 20 July 1981 after the “unexpected success” of the Ao-as-Saboy peace mission.  In his cover letter, Saboy explains:

The Sipat as exchanged has the binding effect of the full restoration of peace pact ties, short of only the formalities during which the real holder of the Peace Pact will be formally installed.  This will be taken up in the Lonoc which both tribes will plan to hold within this month or next month.

With this Sipat, the tribesmen of Sumadel and Botbot are now freely moving without fear of molestation — in the municipality of Tinglayan and elsewhere and outside the Province.

I. Background

On August 9, 1980, Mayor Alexander Alngag of Tinglayan, a member of the Sumadel Tribe, was ambushed and killed on his way to his residence within the Municipal compound, at Tinglayan Proper. Suspects in the ambush-killing were tribesmen from Botbot.

After verification by Sumadel tribesmen of the identities of the assailants being from Botbot, a state of tribal hostilities between the Sumadel and Botbot tribes was declared.

Thereafter, Peter Gaddawan of Locong, Botbot was shot and killed by Alexander Alngag, Jr., in revenge for the death of his father in the hands of Botbot assailants.

The ensuing months saw both warring tribal groups on a search-and-kill vengeance mission against each other.  As of July 13, 1981, the Sumadel tribe suffered three (3) dead while the Botbot side suffered two killed and one wounded.

II. Settlement Attempts

While the hostilities between the two tribes lingered, attempts at restoring their bodong have been made by different interest groups, including the New People’s Army (NPA) operating in the Tinglayan area.  Among the salient attempts were the following:

1. On January 10, 1981, the New People’s Army (NPA) led by Ka Sungar and Ka Dado initiated a move to restore the Sumadel-Botbot Peace Pact.  A conference of all Kalinga Pangats in the KSDR area was called at Basao, Tinglayan.  During that conference, a Sipat was called to be exchanged.  Pangat Bador from Sitio Ngibat gave the Botbot Sipat while Pangat Chulsi from Sumadel also gave the Sumadel Sipat. Due to some doubtful commitments which were not immediately cleared, the Sipat was called off and returned.

2. On April 12, 1981, MPH Foreman Abbacan of Bangad, Tinglyanan went to Botbot and secured the Sipat to be given to Sumadel.  Abbacan was reportedly deputized by the KSDR and municipal authorities to restore the Bodong.  He, together with Lutheran Pastor Luis L. Ao-as, were to proceed to Sumadel but a gunfight occurred on that day and the mission was called off.

3. On June 1, 1981, Sangguniang Bayan of Tinglayan took over the mission and arranged for a meeting of all Botbot and Sumadel tribal leaders at Barangay Dananao, Tinglayan.  The Sumadel tribesmen snubbed the meeting and the Bobot tribesmen went home frustrated.

4. On June 9, 1981, an attempt on the part of “neutral” parties convinced the Bugnay tribesmen to send a Sipat to Sumadel.  It was outrightly rejected for reasons unexplained.

5. On June 29, 1981, a two-man team composed of Provincial Administrator Augustus S. Saboy and Rev. Luis L. Ao-as, a Lutheran Minister from Basao, Tinglayan, volunteered to undertake the peace mission.

III. The Final Attempt at the Restoration of Peace Pact Between Sumadel and Botbot

The Saboy-Ao-as team, reinforced by MECS Supervisor George Liban and COMELEC Registrar Jimmy Bucao, left for Sumadel after spending the night in Mallango, Tinglayan on June 30, 1981.

After arrival at Sumadel, a meeting of all people in the two Barangays (Sumadel I and II) was called by Ex-Mayor Urdaneta Puday.  Heated discussions on the restoration of the peace pact marked the conference and it lasted to two o’clock in the morning of July 1, 1981.

The meeting was to be resumed in the morning of July 1 but an incident happened.  At about 7:30 in the morning, Oya-oy Ginnayao, son of the peace pact holder of Sumadel with Lubuagan, hacked Miling Baliao, 75, as a revenge or Bog-oy of the boloeing of a Lubuagan man in Bulanao, Tabuk by a Sumadel tribesman.

The incident being interpreted as a “bad omen” cancelled all further discussions on the return of the Sipat.  However, after a hurried caucus, the Sumadel people agreed to deputize Mr. Saboy and Pastor Ao-as to go to Botbot and secure the Sipat from the Botbot people and to be brought back to Sumadel for presentation to the Sumadel tribesmen.

On July 10, 1981, the two-man team (Saboy and Ao-as) left for Botbot for the Sipat mission.  At Tinglayan, Police Capt. Henry Agod was consulted on the security aspect of the trip and the team was given a go-signal to proceed to Botbot.

On July 11, 1981, after conferring with Mayor Emilio Bagtang, a general meeting of all Botbot tribal leaders (Bugnay, Locong, and Buscalan included) was held at Botbot Proper.  Also in attendance were Barangay Capt. Anselmo Lopic of Bangad, Tinglayan and Carlito Banao of Ngibat and Tulgao.

After serious discussions on the proposal for the Botbot people to be give the Sipat, a consensus was held and the people gave Ex-Barangay Councilman Camilo Bo-ay Tangday of Locong and Botbot the assignment of holding the Sipat.  A bolo was given as the Sipat.

On July 12, 1981, the team proceeded to Sumadel via Bangad, Tinglayan.  In the evening of July 12, another joint meeting of the two Sumadel Barangays was called and discussions again lasted until three o’clock in the morning of July 13, 1981.

At about 8:30, July 13, 1981, the Sumadel leaders already decided to give the exchange Sipat with Sangguniang Bayan Member Willliam Isican Din-as as the chosen Sipat holder.

Sipat in the form of a one-peso coin was given by Councilor Din-as to the team and imediately, Saboy and Ao-as left for Botbot to present the Sumadel Sipat.

On July 14, 1981, after a brief conference of Bot bot leaders was called in the residence of Mayor Bagtang, the Sipat was formally accepted and immediately a “ceasefire” was officially declared.

IV. Comments and Recommendations

1. The next phase of the restoration of the peace pact is for either Botbot or Sumadel to invite each other for the Lonoc.  The Sumadel people have agreed to hold the Lonoc in Botbot.  At the same time the Botbot leaders have also agreed to go to Sumadel for the Lonoc.

2. As far as the Sipat is concerned, the cessation of tribal hostilities has a binding effect and all Sumadel and Botbot people have agreed to respect the Sipat.

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