The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the Department of Education (DepEd) awarded Bangilo Elementary School (BES) of Malibcong as a Zone of Peace because of its best practices in maintaining the school as an insurgency-free community.

Division Risk Reduction Management Service Coordinator Jun Florencio B. Rifareal Jr. said that the residence headed by the barangay council managed to control the presence of any armed group in the school vicinity.

He said that having the Council of Elders in Bangilo also played a significant role in conflict management. “The elders or “panglakayen” are still respected among the Indigenous Peoples (IP) in the community nowadays,” he added.

Furthermore, the practice of budong—a peace pact for Tingguians, is another way conflicts are being addressed and settled.

Lastly, the local government unit, local communities, and other stakeholders’ support to the peacebuilding process in Bangilo contributed to a safe environment.

According to Rifareal, BES is the only Zone of Peace school awardee in the entire Cordillera this year.