Lacwasan said that the skirmishes between government forces and New People’s Army rebels in the towns of Bauko and Tadian in the past weeks were isolated cases.
A firefight ensued last in March 29 in Bagnen, Bauko that escalated into hot pursuit operation by members of the Cordillera Regional Mobile Force Battalion and the Philippine Army extending to nearby Tadian. Two police officers were killed and 10 others were wounded in the incidents.
Tourism activities particularly hiking in the different mountain areas in the area were suspended while police and army personnel conduct clearing of landmines and improvised explosive devices planted by the rebels.
But Lacawasan assured that these incidents have not affected the tourism activities in the entire province. In fact, thousands of people including tourists attended the 52nd Mountain Province founding anniversary and the 15th Lang-ay Festival here last week.
With the theme “Nurturing Cultural Traditions Through Indigenous Peoples Education,” the province successfully celebrated the twin events showcasing the rich culture and tradition of the province. Like in the past years, these were attended by officials and personnel of the different LGUs, national line agencies, academe, organizations, tourists, media and the general public.
On April 6, the 10 municipalities featured their culture and tradition during the Cultural Day with a street dancing and chanting along the main thoroughfares of Bontoc and the cultural drama presentation at the Eyeb Grounds. The Foundation Day on April 7 was highlighted with a program giving recognition to the past leaders of the province at the Provincial Plaza.
Lang-ay is a native dialect of the Bontocs meaning to share the happiness, wisdom, promote family solidarity, hospitality, peace and nurture friendship with partaking of the native rice wine.
Meanwhile, the officials and people of Bauko and Tadian are working hard to bring back their peaceful and orderly existence that was disrupted by the NPA rebels.
“Let us have peace in Bauko,” Mayor Abraham Akilit said adding he is studying the proposal of some sectors to declare Bauko as a peace zone.
The municipality of Tadian led by Mayor Anthony Wooden conducted a peace rally and prayer service on Tuesday, April 9. Residents and officials from the 19 barangays participated in the unity walk to express condemnation of the NPA insurgency. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)