Elder questions the creation of a Minanga Tribe


TABUK CITY — An elder of the Butbut tribe Ama Banag Sinumlag in an interview questioned the process of how a tribe came into existence and was called Minanga.

The Minanga tribe and Indigenous Cultural Community (ICC) came to be named so when the proponent of the proposed Upper Tabuk Hydro Power Project (UTHP) wanted to revive the proposed project by naming the alleged tribe as initiator. In 2008 was the project proponent’s first attempt to construct the hydro power project along Tanudan river within the territory of Barangay Dupag, upper part of Tabuk City but due to opposition and irregularities it was rejected and totally scrapped around 2012.

Moises Bangit of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance- Kalinga said that the Minanga tribe appeared in 2008 as the tribe supporting the putting up of the hydro power project. This raised issues and conflict among the villagers as the creation of a Minanga tribe subsequently exposed the manipulations and falsehoods behind the attempt to construct the project.

Ama Banag shared that people of Butbut and Tinglayan in early days used to take the route via Tanudan going to Tabuk passing through the place which the inhabitants claimed as Sabangan. He also said that there were times that they sleep in the village Sabangan especially when caught by darkness along their way, which during their conversation with the villagers, they called themselves yNanong (tribe).

“Actually we have a peace pact with Nanong where Lumbaya Gayudan was the bodong holder on our side. Though we do not have a written pagta but verbal accounts, our counterpart said during the painum in Ngibat that their kabugis is Taloctoc in Tanudan and Malbong in the western part,” Ama Banag recounts. “We didn’t hear anything about Minanga and it is only now that the tribe-Minanga came out,” he said.

Ama Banag also said that in the consecutive painum or renewal of bodong between Butbut and Taloctoc in 1982 and with Malbong in 1984, there was no existing Minanga tribe exist nor bounded to Nanong.

On the other hand, Ama Banag shared a concrete experience of Tinglayan how a tribe gives birth to another subtribe. “Sumadel and Mallango in early days was only one tribe and was called the Sumadel tribe but due to some issues and circumstances, it was recommended for the separation of Mallango as another independent subtribe” Ama Banag said. “From there, Mallango engaged in a (sipat) peace pact with other tribes like Butbut and underwent other requisites of bodong” he further said.

Ama Banag commented on how the Minanga tribe existed. He said, “If the yMinanga is determined to form their own sub-tribe, they must have to follow the process, they must have to engage (sumipat) bodong with other tribes and should define their own bugis (territory) and so with the Nanong as their mother tribe, they must have to renew their bodong with their counter parts to review their pagta to remove the Minanga from its bugis like what the Mallango and Sumadel did”.

Without the proper process he said it will cause complications. “For instance, if any binodngan died within Minanga, to whom we are going to charge accountable? Still the Nanong because in our pagta it is still part of their bugis” Ama Banag commented.

Ama Banag alarmed and felt dismayed by the rumors that the formation of the Minanga sub-tribe was for the proposed hydro power project to be put up in its supposed ancestral domain. “No subliantayo ti pakaistoriaan ti bodong, nagrubuat daytoy gapu kadagiti rimsua a gubat iti nagbabaetan dagiti tribu, a ti gubat ket agtaud gapu iti panagdepensa iti daga.” (When we look back on the history of bodong, it started because of the occurrence of tribal wars between tribes where wars is for the defense of land, the elder said.) “Naiyanak ti bodong tapno marisut dagiti risiris ken mapairut ti relasion iti nagbabaetan” (Bodong is born in order to resolve tribal conflicts and tighten relationship among tribes), he further said.

What is happening in the case of Minanga is a reversal to the traditional concept of the Bodong, it seems they are forming their tribe to sell their ancestral land. He also commented on the electing of officers by the Minanga tribe. When it comes to bodong according to him, it is the bodong holders who assume as chieftain and protector of the tribe.

Ama Banag also shared that during the historic struggle against the chico dam 4 during Marcos regime, the bodong system played a significant role for the successful opposition. Multilateral bodong conferences were launched to forge unity among all binodngan in Kalinga and Bontoc against the dam project.

He urged the Binodngan Peoples Organization (BPO), to be strengthened and work immediately for these issues because it seems the bodong system is being commercialized and the real concept of bodong is being abandoned. # nordis.net


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