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Mountain Province ex-mayor dies in hunter's trap on Mount Kalawitan

Mount Kalawitan (photo by Arthur Allad-iw, Northern Dispatch)

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- A former mayor of the Mountain Province town of Natonin was found dead last week after he was caught in a hunter’s trap in the forests of Mount Kalawitan, town mates and authorities said.

The body of Donald Alubia was still caught in the trap when found on January 18 by the hunter, from the town of Sabangan, who had set up the device.

The former mayor had been wounded by an improvised shotgun that was rigged to fire when a wild animal got caught in the trap. He had bled to death from his wounds.

According to residents of Natonin, Alubia and two town mates had gone hunting on Mount Kalawitan on January 16 and had agreed to split up after setting up camp.

When the former mayor failed to return to the camp, his companions immediately got in touch with officials in Natonin who, in turn, sought the help of police, provincial director Senior Superintendent Oliver Emmodias said.

Natonin folk also organized their own search teams to look for their former mayor.

Meanwhile, in Sabangan, authorities also ordered local hunters to check their traps, called bais in the town and pherais in Natonin, in the forests.

Deadly traps

Mount Kalawitan, rising 2,714 (8,898 feet) meters above sea level on the tri-boundary of Mountain Province, Benguet and Ifugao, has an area of 12,143 hectares that hosts a mossy forest that is home to many species of wildlife. There have been proposals to declare it a protected area.

Ruth Batane, a relative of Alubia, said during an interview at the former mayor’s January 26 funeral that indigenous people have hunted in the forests of Mount Kalawitan since time immemorial.

However, it was only recently when they began making the traps with the improvised shotgun.

She said the traps should be banned, citing at least four instances when they had victimized persons instead of wild animals.

Alubia, she said, was the second fatality from the traps.

Blood loss, hypothermia

Batane said medical findings showed that four pellets were retrieved from Alubia’s leg.

But although blood loss was listed as the cause of death, hypothermia was a contributory factor as well.

The temperature on the mountain was below 10 degrees Celsius at the time of the incident, she noted.

After the location of Alubia’s body was reported by the hunter whose trap had killed him, residents of Natonin walked six hours from Pingad in Sabangan to retrieve him from the mountainside.

Alubia was mayor of Natonin from 2001 to 2004 and a councilor from 2009 to 2012.

His wife, who works in Canada and came home on January 22, is from Sabangan. They have three children.

 

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