Proclaimed as the Best Lupong Tagapamayapa-Independent/Component Cities Category in Region XII for the year 2014, Lupong Tagapamayapa of Barangay Upper Katungal in Tacurong City is now in the region’s Lupong Tagapamayapa Incentives and Awards (LTIA) Hall of Fame.

Its winning streak in the LTIA started in 2012. It had won the admiration of regional evaluation teams for its efficient and well-documented transactions.

For 2014, Lupon of Upper Katungal reports that all cases filed in the barangay were settled. Some cases did not even reach the pangkat because Lupon members who are purok presidents make efforts to settle disputes in their level. “Sa purok level pa lang, may mediation na kaming ginagawa. Kung hindi man maayos sa purok, sinisikap ng Lupon na maayos ang mga kaso para hindi na umabot sa korte,” stated Punong Barangay and Lupon Chairperson Hernane S. Fermo when asked of their best practices.

He also added that their Lupon supports activities that promote peace in the community. “Sa pamamagitan ng mga inter-purok activities tulad ng Best Sanitation Practices at Clean and Green, napagkakaisa naming ang magkakapit-bahay…nababawasan ang away at gulo,” said Fermo.

Upper Katungal Lupon members with LGU officials and the LTIA National Validation Team
Upper Katungal Lupon members with LGU officials and the LTIA National Validation Team

Country’s Best

With its innovative practices in settling cases and for its proactive approach in peace and conflict resolution, Upper Katungal Lupong Tagapamayapa was shortlisted as among the Top 4 among the fourteen contenders in the National LTIA-Component Cities Category.

“LTIA is now on its 25th awarding year. For the first time in the history of LTIA, ngayon lang po nangyari na ang national board of judges ay nag decide na magkaroon ng Top 4 instead of Top 3..dahil napakalapit ng difference ng inyong mga scores [sa document review],” said Justice Bernardo Abesamis, Chairperson of the LTIA National Board of Judges.

Abesamis and the rest of the National Validation Team went to Barangay Upper Katungal on 22 October 2015. They interviewed Lupon members on purok level mediation, efficienc implementation of the barangay justice system, and their strategies in peace and conflict resolution. “Sinusunod naming ang sistema at gumagawa pa kami ng ibang paraan upang maayos ang mga away; nagsasagawa kami ng home visitation upang mabigyan ng payo ang mga involved,” said Fermo.

Justice Abesamis explained that the scores in the on-site validation will finally determine the Top 3 who will receive the LTIA Presidential Citation.

“Upper Katungal is an active partner in promoting peace. We have seen how it has improved through the years and we are positive that they will receive due recognition,” affirmed Mayor Lina O. Montilla who was also present during the validation. Vice Mayor Joseph George Lechonsito, city councilors, chairpersons of other barangays, and City DILG Officer Alberto Sero Jr. also showed their support and witnessed the LTIA national validation.

Two more Lupons in Region XII are eyeing for the national awards, namely Barangay City Heights in General Santos City (Highly Urbanized Cities category) and Lupon of Barangay Poblacion, Polomolok, South Cotabato (third class municipalities category).

The Lupong Tagapamayapa Incentives and Awards (LTIA) is an annual recognition of the exemplary performance of the Lupong Tagapamaya in their implementation of Katarungang Pambarangay or Barangay Justice System. (JLBillano-Fabreag, LGU-Tacurong City Information)