Tubiganay: Conflict Resolution amongst Indigenous Cultural Communities in Central Panay Mountains

  • By Irving Domingo L. Rio and Rodel C. Palomar (February 2013)


Conflict resolution is vital in the maintenance of societal order because without it chaos will prevail and the society’s existence is in peril. The indigenous cultural communities of Central Panay Mountains, collectively called the Panay Bukidnon people were able to preserve their old customs and traditions, including their indigenous conflict resolutions process. The Panay Bukidnon conflict resolution process continues to operate and is the preferred method to scale petty or serious conflicts in Central Panay Mountains despite the existence of a modern state. This research paper “Tubiganay. Conflict Resolution Amongst Indigenous Cultural Communal. in Central Panay Mountains- aims to provide explanation to the inability of the state to enforce it norms on law and order and conflict resolution and provide valuable information on the contributing factors which have led to the persistence of indigenous conflict resolution process. Moreover, this research intends to contribute to the body of knowledge regarding the culture, society, and history of the Philippines as well as political dynamics among indigenous cultural communities in Panay. This research will provide the reader a greater understanding and appreciation of the uniqueness, variety, and richness of the culture of Panay in particular and the Philippines in general. Likewise this paper will help preserve the cultural heritage of Panay before it becomes eroded by the forces of globalization and modernization. The objectives of this paper were achieved through qualitative research method In-depth interviews of key informants and ordinary people were employed to acquire relevant data. Data from interviews were supplemented, clarified and validated by focused group discussion involving village elders, leaders and other members of the community. The researchers traversed the mountains and rivers from Calinog, Iloilo to Libacao, Aklan and stayed in the community for four days for immersion to obtain the data needed. The magurang system is central in the conflict resolution process among the indigenous communities involved in the study. The magurang as an institution yields unchallenged “judicial authority” in resolving practically all forms of conflicts. Conflict resolution through tubiganay wherein combatants settle their disputes in a duel using bladed weapons and tying ropes around their waists to ensure that no one can escape is no longer practiced in the area of study. However, the researchers found out that private justice through vengeance by using other forms of killing is still practiced by the people of Central Panay Mountains which may lead to a large scale tribal war. The realization of private justice involves the practices of ugkhat, kantang, and durog. The rationale of tubiganay is self-preservation, defense of honor and domain of the family, clan, and tribe and maintaining social order. It serves as an effective détente to further violence. In the absence of an operating state’s judicial system in the area, “tubiganay” provides the mechanism of settling disputes before it escalates into a much higher level of conflict that may threaten the survival and well-being of the community at large. Local government officials’ knowledge of the existence of tubiganay is very limited since conflicts involving indigenous people are rarely brought to their attention. The common causes of tubiganay are cheating, exaggerated boast, vengeance, deep-seated retribution, non-payment of one’s obligation, banditry, and violation of domain which includes failure to seek hunting permission and deceitful declaration of hunting share. The persistence of tubiganay due to the following factors distance and rugged terrain, tubiganay is deeply culture bound because bravery is an ideal, informal combative training that includes kaingin, domog as competitive sport and sampalayo, perceived inappropriateness of the state justice system, and tubiganay as an institution. Social activities such as domog, sampalayo, and even kaingin preparation are considered combative training because they hone the skills and abilities of people to fight.

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