Pangasinan execs vow to keep village amid border dispute with N. Vizcaya town
SAN NICOLAS, Pangasinan, Philippines — Asserting their territorial rights to the upland village of Malico in this town, Pangasinan officials on Monday vowed to protect it from the ongoing ownership dispute with neighboring Santa Fe town in Nueva Vizcaya province.
Malico, at 1,675 meters above sea level and known for its cool climate, is home to some 112 indigenous Kalanguya families.
Some of the tribal leaders met with Gov. Ramon Guico III and other officials, including the local police, to discuss the boundary dispute with Santa Fe, which is also claiming ownership of the village.
Last month, the Nueva Vizcaya provincial board held a special session in Barangay Malico where they passed a resolution urging San Nicolas officials to refrain from carrying out infrastructure projects within the village’s boundaries.
In the same resolution, San Nicolas officials were told to “respect the boundary” of Santa Fe and “the rights of the Kalanguya tribe and their ancestral domain rights.”
But Guico said Malico remained a territory of Pangasinan, stressing that they would fight for its ownership.
“We will not give an inch of the Pangasinan land and will fight for our territory,” Guico said at the meeting.
Vice Gov. Mark Lambino, who was also at the meeting, said the provincial board would not “budge a square inch” of Pangasinan’s land.
“On the side of the provincial board, we will exhaust all legislative remedies to help our brothers and provincemates in Malico,” Lambino said.
The Pangasinan board has converted an ad hoc committee handling the boundary dispute into a full-fledged committee to address all boundary disputes in San Nicolas and other towns, he said.
Pangasinan Rep. Marlyn Agabas said she would give legislative support to the province as needed.
Tito Ancheta, 46, a member of the Kalanguya tribe, said the “tongtongan” (unwritten history) of their ancestors showed that they belonged to Pangasinan and “we wanted to remain as such.”
Ancheta even illustrated the boundaries of Malico straddling the summits of the mountains of Ugo, Akbab and Tukal, which he said were “far from the areas claimed by Nueva Vizcaya.”
He said it was also the government of Pangasinan that established elementary and high schools in the village.
“Pangasinan is also helping us with our agricultural projects, such as a coffee plantation that covers 190 hectares,” Ancheta said.
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