PIA Press Release
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Stakeholders to set uniform amicable settlement penalties in Matagoan Zoneby Peter A. Balocnit
TABUK CITY, Kalinga, Jan. 22(PIA) -- The Matagoan Bodong Consultative Council (MBCC) pushes for a uniform settlement of cases involving violation of the provisions of peace pacts and common crimes by residents in this city.
Participants of the Police and People Forging United Move (POPE FORUM) brought together representatives from the prosecution office, the community and the police.
The forum’s aim was “to come up with a peace plan that will safeguard the Matagoan Zone,” which, under the definition of the MBCC, consists of barangays Bulanao, Bulanao Norte, San Juan, Appas, Magsaysay, Dagupan Weste and Dagupan Centro, the urban center of the province.
The council wants to remove the double standards of justice in the Matagoan Zone and let the penalties in amicable settlements be uniform for all residents of the zone.
Community Affairs Officer Heriberto Barila said the forum was a sequel of the first POPE FORUM in September 2002 which eventually led to the establishment of the Matagoan Bodong Council composed of the leaders of the original sub-tribes of the then town and tasked to implement the Matagoan Zone Declaration of the Kalinga Bodong Congress in the 1990s.
The Matagoan Declaration aimed to free the capital town from criminal activities on the rationale that it is the center of government, commerce and education and should remain undisturbed from violent activities.
“One of the workshop groups composed of community elders and leaders declared that peace activities like the forum will be of no use in the end if sectors in the community will not come to an agreement to make the penalties of crimes under the amicable settlement system existing in the Matagoan Zone uniform. They cited many instances when there were discrepancies in the penalties for the same crimes. They asked how come the difference in the penalties when the gravity of the offense was the same,” Barila said.
Barila added that the exponents of the idea brushed aside the explanation of MBCC Consultant John Dongui-is, Sr. that one beauty of the ‘areglo’ or amicable system of settling disputes prevalent in the province is that it puts into consideration the social standing of the parties.
“They insisted that what applies to one party should apply to all,” Barila said. (JDP/PAB-PIA-CAR, Kalinga)