KALAHI-CIDSS helps end tribal conflict in Sadanga
Development projects like the Kapit-bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) play a big role in putting and end to tribal conflicts and achieving lasting peace and attaining unity among its people.
The nine-year old tribal conflict between the Walitan tribe of Barangay Saclit and the Sadanga people of Barangays Poblacion, Demang, and Sacasacan has finally ended with the pagta or peace pact.
The difficulty in facilitating the implementation of the sub-projects and capability-building activities during the Makamasang Tugon (MT) implementation and other projects in the barangay contributed to the crafting of the pagta. At long last with the singlip (songlip) or the signing of the agreement, a peden or the resolution of the tribal conflict was finally achieved early this year.
The implementation of Makamasang Tugon during tribal conflicts
Barangay Saclit, one of the eight barangays of Sadanga in Mountain Province, has been a beneficiary of the regular KALAHI-CIDSS, the Japan Social Development Fund - Social Inclusion Project (JSDF-SIP), and the Makamasang Tugon (MT).
The implementation of the Makamasang Tugon in Saclit was quite delayed because of the presence of an on-going tribal conflict between the barangays of Saclit and Demang to which the neighboring barangays of the latter, Poblacion and Sacasacan, were indirectly involved.
The service providers and deputy area coordinator (DAC), who are residents of Poblacion, were forbidden to step within Saclit for security reasons, so they could not extend necessary assistance relative to the implementation of project, especially on the technical aspect of construction.
To resolve the problem, the assistant engineer from the municipal local government unit (who is a resident of Betwagan, a barangay with no tribal conflict with Saclit) was designated to take over the implementation and act as service provider of the barangay during the entire duration of the implementation.
The Municipal Coordinating Team (MCT) members who were residents of the said barangays were also forbidden to go to Saclit for the same reason.
Christian Bon, municipal monitor for MT implementation attests that the “tribal war had immensely affected the deliverables and the quality of the input to the community volunteers particularly in Saclit.”
“In order to provide technical assistance to the community volunteers, the MCT members needed to go all the way to Bontoc to ensure their safety. This resulted in an uncompromised budget allocation,” he added.
Fortunately, due to the intervention of the MLGU, who had been incorporating peace resolution in all developmental projects of the municipality, and the legacy of the KALAHI-CIDSS and JSDF-SIP in the barangay, participation among the people were achieved though at low rate.
The crafting of peden
The lessons learned from the implementation of the KALAHI-CIDSS and the JSDF-SIP remained with the community. These helped facilitate the implementation of the MT and most importantly, in the crafting of the peden.
The peace process started during the JSDF-SIP implementation in the barangay in 2008. Though many did not believe in the possibility of the attainment and prosperity of peace process, three leaders decided to team-up and find ways to reconcile their respective communities towards peace.
Alex Churping, Saclit Barangay Captain, Paul Farong-ey, Demang Barangay Captain, and Alban Guinayen, Poblacion Barangay Captain, were instrumental in the peace resolution.
Discreet meetings between captains Churping and Farong-ey with the elders and tribal leaders in their barangays were arranged. Alban Guinayen, Poblacion Barangay Captain also helped in the peace consultations because they were also affected by the conflict being a close neighbor of Demang.
Subsequently, public meetings were held to discuss the possibilities of a complete conflict resolution in the concerned barangays. The women and the pakarso or half-bloods played a very significant role in bringing messages to the conflicting communities.
In Saclit, women remained to be the major peace advocates, and they have also consistently implemented the liquor ban in their barangay, one of the legacies of JSDF-SIP.
In addition, a series of inter-tribal consultations in Sadanga and Bontoc were assisted by the Sadanga MLGU and the provincial government of Mt. Province. The provincial government served as neutral personality by providing necessary interventions to the negotiation between the clashing tribes.
These conglomerations of efforts by different peace advocates resulted to the long-awaited peace pact early this year.
Celebrations or tribal feasts were conducted by the Walitan tribe and the Sadanga people to enact the pagta. They held festivities in their own territories attended by both parties.
The promise for a lasting peace
At long last, after years of pain and distress brought by the tribal conflict, the people of Sadanga finally renewed its commitment to peace. For the Walitan tribe, the achievement of peden is another opportunity to bring back the confidence the municipal government and their fellow i-Sadanga’s have in them.
Tribalism is a way for the people to safeguard their unique identity. The rejection to succumb to modernization was borne from their fight for cultural preservation. However, as time went by and people become Christianized and educated, they started to shun away from tribalism, but still, the cultural identities alongside practices still linger in their everyday living.
Sadanga, especially Saclit, after the adoption and institutionalization of KALAHI through Makamasang Tugon, has bravely made a giant leap from traditional LGU system to a promising municipality, adhering to the processes in accordance to the social promotion for community development. This is anchored to the KALAHI-CIDSS main objectives: poverty reduction, transparency and social accountability.
Ending the tribal conflict is a promise of change that would bring community development the people of Sadanga have been dreaming.
In the event that Sadanga becomes a recipient of another grant for a KALAHI implementation anew, there will never be a tribal conflict to affect its implementation. Never again will there be tribal hostilities that would limit the people from exercising their rights and responsibilities for the betterment of their community. This, the villagers promised.-6/30/2010