Sunday, June 13, 2010

How the Native Kalinga Maintains Peace

Up to this day, the bodong still plays an important role in the lives of Kalingas.
In the province of Kalinga one of the provinces in the Cordillera Autonomous Region of Northern Luzon, Philippines, the tribes are bound or beholden to each other by a system called the "bodong" (peace pact).

The bodong is similar to the international treaties, in that it has provisions, constitutions, and by-laws that include, territory, people and government which are covered by the terms and conditions of the "bodong".

The provisions also include the following: care, assistance, protection, as well as imposing penalty on cases of violation of these provisions. The "bodong" protects people and visitors from both tribes, especially in emergencies.

The system has an oral constitution and by laws which is called "pagta" (oral statement of the terms and conditions, manner , limitations, ways and means in business, in emergencies in the relationship of all persons within the territories of both agreeing tribes). The penal code is orally given for specific violations. When a problem arises, the leaders of both tribes would convene and would recall the "pagta's" oral provisions relative to the case at bar; and then and there, solve the existing problem.

The bodong is usually established when an individual member of a tribe or barrio has a business relationship with another person from the other tribe. This is a specific example: Mr. Suma-il of Barrio Taloctoc, Tanudan living on the eastern slope of Mt Patokan bought a carabao from Mr. Dumawig of Tanglag, Lubuagan. Dumawig then will barter goods also - a coconut for a cup of beans, etc. - this is called "abbuyog' (sharing).

From there the relationship intensifies; Suma-il now sends a spear or javelin to Dumawig. Dumawig in turn sends a bolo (big knife). This is called "allasio" (the beginning of the peace pact). The People involved may or may not retain the original partners but in most cases, the people retain the original partners out of respect.

During the celebration of the "allasio", the parties may discuss the arrangement for the "inum" the preliminary celebration of the bodong.

When the "inum" is celebrated the discussion on the permanent pact holders may be brought out for deliberation. This maybe the original people involved or their nearest next of kin.

The final selection will be based on the required qualifications of the peace pact holder.


tashabud said...

Hi, Jena. This is very informative. I've lived in the Kalingas in my early youth, but I was too young to understand all the bodong process and everything else that entails it. Now I know. Thanks for educating me today.


Virginia Gaces said...

Hi Tasha,

You're welcome Tasha, that's a well lived childhood I'm sure. Lol.. take care. hugs