Search This Blog

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Kalinga Policemen and the Bodong

A new reader inquires about the effectiveness of the binodngan* policemen in enforcing peace and order in Kalinga (for background information, read post on  this article).

I haven't done any research yet on police work in Kalinga in relation to the bodong. All I know for now is a rumor I heard years ago claiming that many, if not most, Kalinga policemen are unable to strictly implement the law on fellow Kalingas for fear that accosting or arresting a suspect or a criminal at large might result in another tribal war. According to some observers, the arrest of a binodngan has been used by some unscrupulous individuals as a pretext to agitate for the severance of their peace pact ties with the arresting police officer's tribe, which, of course, means a declaration of tribal war.**

To solve this problem, some have suggested that policemen assigned in Kalinga should come from non-binodngan areas (Ilocanos, Tagalogs, etc.) and Kalinga policemen should be assigned to other provinces. But even with this arrangement, I suppose the same problem may arise the moment a police officer is married to (naikamang) a Kalinga,

There are people in Kalinga far more knowledgeable about the issue than I am. One of them is Estanislao Albano, a dear friend with whom I had the pleasure of working as a fellow columnist in 1999 for a short-lived weekly paper in Tabuk. A prolific writer, he has penned many articles critiquing the bodong. Although we belong to opposite sides of the issue on whether to abolish the bodong (he is pro-abolition), I deeply respect his concern for the peace and order situation of our province and his valid criticisms against the said indigenous practice/institution. Although he is not really a native of Kalinga, I consider him as a serious student of Kalinga culture worth listening to relative to this topic.

He has given me permission to post his contact details for anyone who shares our querist's interest and who wishes to consult him on the matter:


Mobile Phone No.: 09105454524


* Those belonging to any of the tribes of Kalinga, and are therefore covered by the indigenous peace pact system, the bodong.

** Contrary to the misconceptions of some outsiders, not all of the 31 subtribes of Kalinga engage in tribal war. I believe about 80 percent of the these ethnolinguistic territories have not engaged in any tribal conflict in the past two decades.


Juliet said...

You can't abolish the "bodong." Easy for outsiders to say that! The bodong is Kalinga's trademark! The reason why it may not sometimes work these days is that the leaders and specially the younger generation don't know the real meaning of the bodong. If only our kailyans are re-educated on what the bodong really means, then I believe they will respect the system.

scott saboy said...

What's also sad is that some of our leaders have used the bodong as a tool for their vested interests thus further beclouding the fine image of this indigenous practice/institution.

mavaak said...

I am not I-Kalinga but we have a culture very parallel to Kalinga's. And I honestly say that bodong has outlived its usefulness. Yes, it did help maintain order in the past eras (whatever order means during those times) but its is simply an added burden to achievement of real peace. Re-education won't help either.

scott saboy said...

I'd say not all aspects of the bodong have outlived their usefulness. I still believe that jettisoning the whole system is not the solution to our peace and order problem in Kalinga. There is much about it that needs preserving and/or refining. Just like other socio-cultural systems though, the bodong needs to evolve in order to best serve as an instrument of peace in our time. thanks for commenting :)

REX BATAY-AN said...

i am attempting to develop the theory of pagta in this site---> . i am suggesting in my articles that, pagta, as an independent source of tribal laws, from the civil or criminal laws of the Philippines, is legitimate and relevant at this present era. in fact, it is recognized under the 1987 Constitution (Article XIV, Sec. 17)