Sumadel-Butbut Tribal War: Letter to Ireneo Uyam

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Bodong: The Kalinga Peace Pact System (Contains links to other articles)

Augustus Ulat Saboy: “Dean of Kalinga Journalists”


July 18, 1981

My Dear Ireneo,

The Governor has given you August 1, 1981 to report back to your office in Bulanao.  The order will be sent to you next week.

Regarding the information you have given, we will have to talk it over with the Governor inasmuch as this involves administrative formalities, such as: (1) Request for an official leave of absence by the Municipal Mayor himself formally submitted to the Governor and the formal approval of authorities concerned.  A strong justification for this application for leave of absence has to be made to satisfy requirements of administrative laws; (2) Salary of the Vice Mayor as officer-in-charge because under existing regulations, the officer-in-charge has to draw the salary of the Mayor while serving as such. This situation may not be liked by the incumbent mayor as he would be on leave without pay; and (3) Approval of the President of such an arrangement especially if the leave of absence would be something like 6 months or more.

When we will sit down with the Governor on Monday, we will see to it that this matter will be seriously discussed. We will duly inform you about the results of this discussion and decision of the Governor.

I am worried over such a development.  I had a serious talk with Pastor Ao-as and he also expressed deep regrets over it.  We are still of the strong belief that our people, especially in Sumadel and particularly the relatives of the late Mayor Alngag and Engr. Oria, should endeavor to forget bitterness over such unfortunate happenings in their lives. We cannot live by hatred or recriminations.  For to live with such human failings would ruin lives instead.  There is everything to gain by forgetting and forgiving.  On the one hand, one has plenty to lose by harboring consuming hatred and sharpening one’s penchant for vengeance against his fellowmen, particularly to those who have brought disaster and enduring pain on the lives of others.  We are not living for the past.  We are living for tomorrow; we cannot be prisoners of an unwanted past.

It is imperative that we help each other in advising those who would like to seek vengeance on that individual at this time that any breach of agreement as embodied in the spirit and letter of the Sipat would enduringly be disastrous to the Sumadel people.  For your information, the Governor, elated over the return of the peace relations between Sumadel and Botbot, wired Minister Enrile and President Marcos that a “ceasefire” has been declared between the Sumadel and Botbot tribesmen as of July 14, 1981.

You could just picture vividly the repercussions if anything like that which is planned would happen at this time.  In this tribal conflict, I must tell you that we would not know where the Government will stand.  The Government will have to fix its posture and brace up for a punishment of both tribal groups.  And you know who will suffer most if military operations will again be waged in the municipality of Tinglayan.  The killings and brutal military abuses which our people suffered in Tinglayan, particularly in the Bangad, Tinglayan, Basao, Bugnay, and Botbot areas are yet too fresh to forget.  And we do not like this to happen to Sumadel.

If these killings and abuses are mere passing moments, just remember the Lobo-Tanudan conflict in which the government, through its para-military arm, had inflicted more deaths on civilians than the tribal members themselves.   This was the costliest tribal hostility in the history of tribal warfare in Kalinga — not because the Lobo or Mangali tribesmen were well-equipped with modern weapons but because the GOVERNMENT came in with all its pyrotechnics in PUNISHING both tribal groups and not just one tribal member.  Until now, there is no way of pinpointing who the assailants of the dead in the Mangali-Lubo conflict are!  Please educate, if possible, our people on the prospect of this grim and dreaded eventuality because among our Sumadel folks, there are more valuable lives to protect and preserve than in any other tribal groups in that municipality. One error made by a narrow-minded individual in Sumadel would set off this frightening eventuality for the Sumadel people.

It is  time that we address these warnings to ourselves because if there is any check-valve on the flow of pent-up criminal emotions on the part of our people who are by nature, killing-oriented, it is we who would tell ourselves repeatedly to halt these tribal conflicts so costly to our existence as Kalingas.

My warmest regards to you and the family and may God’s blessings be with you.

Very Sincerely,


[Augustus U. Saboy]

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