Sadanga mayor's order to bar Buscalan tourists from passing through questioned

Sadanga mayor's order to bar Buscalan tourists from passing through questioned
In this March 31, 2020 photo, Sadanga Mayor Gabino Ganggangan gives a radio interview for updates on the enhanced community quarantine in the municipality.
Sadanga LGU

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — Tinglayan, Kalinga Mayor Sacramento Gumilab is asking the Mountain Province government to review the executive order of Sadanga Mayor Gabino Ganggangan banning tourists bound for Tinglayan from passing through Sadanga.

Tinglayan Mayor Sacramento Gumilab, in his letter to Mountain Province Gov. Bonifacio Lacwasan Jr., said,  the executive order of Mayor Ganggangan should be declared null and void as it is inconsistent with the 1987 Philippine Constitution and the laws of the country.

On July 28, 2020, Ganggangan penned EO 18 series of 2020 prohibiting tourists going to Barangay Buscalan in Tinglayan, Kalinga from passing through the road within Sadanga.

Ganggangan issued the EO purportedly to stop the transport of marijuana and firearms and ammunitions, attributing such crimes being committed by persons posing as tourists.  Under the EO, tourists bound for Buscalan “are hereby prohibited to take the route covering the road sections within Sadanga's area of coverage.”  

The order also states that tourists trying to pass through the territorial jurisdiction of Sadanga to or from Buscalan, Tinglayan shall be denied entry and will be sent back to where he or she came from.

Though Mayor Gumilab acknowledged the noble cause of the order of Mayor Ganggangan, “banning tourists to Tinglayan does not prevent the commissions of such crimes because any other person without being a tourist can commit them.”

The Kalinga town mayor argued that Mayor Ganggangan's EO is an impairment of the constitutional right to travel. Gumilab said that the right to travel is part of the 'liberty' of which a citizen cannot be deprived without the due process of law.  

He also said that, under the Constitution, “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law nor shall any person be deprived the equal protection of the law”.  

He also argued that the Sadanga mayor has no authority to prohibit the use of national roads and that barring access to the road through Sadanga would mean longer trips for tourists.

"It must be noted that the only direct entry point to Tinglayan from Mountain Province is the Bontoc-Tabuk National which will pass thru Sadanga. By the issuance of the EO, tourists would be forced to take a route 10 times longer in order to reach Tinglayan via Tabuk City, Kalinga," he stressed.

He said, tourists, especially those who have no private vehicles, will have to spend more time and money to get to Tinglayan.

Gumilab added that while a few have been arrested for carrying marijuana, "such events are fallacious basis to support a conclusion that tourists visiting Tinglayan especially Buscalan have an ominous purpose for marijuana."

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