Closure to tourists of Mountain Province highway bucked
Artemio Dumlao (The Philippine Star) - August 5, 2020 - 12:00am

BAGUIO CITY , Philippines – The mayor of Tinglayan in Kalinga has asked the governor of Mountain Province to review an order issued by the municipal government of Sadanga, prohibiting tourists from passing through the highway within its territory.

Tinglayan Mayor Sacramento Gumilab urged Gov. Bonifacio Lacwasan Jr. to void an order issued by Sadanga Mayor Gabino Ganggangan, saying the directive violates the Constitution.

In an order issued last week, Ganggangan prohibited tourists bound for Barangay Busacalan in Tingalayan from passing through the highway.

Ganggangan’s order was intended to stop the alleged transport of marijuana, firearms and ammunition from the lowlands, which he said are being done by people posing as tourists.

Gumilab acknowledged the intent of Ganggangan in issuing the order, but he said closing the highway to tourists bound for Tinglayan is not a crime deterrent, noting any person can commit the offense without posing as a tourist.

Gumilab said the order violates a person’s right to travel, which he said is protected by the Constitution.

He said Ganggangan has no authority to prohibit the use of national roads.

The only direct way to Tinglayan from Mountain Province is the Bontoc-Tabuc National Highway, which passes through Sadanga.

Tourists will be forced to take a route 10 times farther to get to Tingalayan if the Sadangan portion of the highway will be closed.          

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