Hang on, boys and girls. It’s the “Conclusion: Dog Dispute Delivers Dispatch from Barangay Captain.” One of our neighbors had filed a complaint at our local barangay hall. My wife and I were ordered to appear before our barangay captain the next day. Failing to do so can result in contempt of court charges being filed against you.
The lady with the grievance was upset because our dogs had crossed over a broken fence on our property and had attacked one of her pups. I completely understand why the neighbor was disturbed. If one of our canines had been injured by someone’s mutt, I, too, would have been angry.
Thankfully, the neighbor’s pet recovered from the attack. But what upsets my asawa and I is the fact that the neighbor had already come over to us and discussed the issue.
Why the woman felt it necessary to go to the barangay hall and complain baffles me. Did the elderly lola, grandma, want some kind of compensation since she knew a “rich” foreigner lived next to her?
So that’s why we were headed to the barangay hall the day we received the summons. I wasn’t going to wait until the next day when the scheduled hearing was to take place.
Previous Visit to the Barangay
Now my better half and I had recently visited our barangay captain to file our own “blotter report.” As mentioned in my previous post, a “blotter report” is recorded by the barangay secretary and witnessed by the barangay captain. This report provides you with an official record with your LGU, Local Government Unit, the barangay, and goes on file.
One Sunday afternoon my spouse was taking our nieces and a nephew back to their home in Guimaras, the island province we call home. A tricycle, whose driver was looking backwards at something besides the road, sideswiped our Aurora Blue Ford Ranger.
(Check out the tricycle incident in this post.)
As we entered our local barangay hall to inquire about our summons over the dog dispute, I immediately went over to the barangay captain’s desk. I was still quite perturbed at this point.
“You see this?” I asked, pointing to my arm, “this person filing the complaint only wants money because of my white skin.”
At this point my significant other is kicking me in the leg.
“Don’t kick me!” I exclaimed. “This woman is only trying to take advantage of us.”
I then sat down in a faded turquoise plastic chair and shut up.
The Sensible Spouse Weighs In
My more sensible spouse then explained to our barangay captain that we had already fixed the fence that our dogs had climbed over. In fact, we had hired two workers the day before to completely reinforce the fence line that borders the complaining neighbor’s lot.
I apologized to the captain for being so irate.
The captain is a decent guy and he’s going to be barangay captain for quite some time yet. President Duterte has suspended all barangay captain elections again, due to almost 40% of them being involved in narco-politics, according to the President.
My wife calmly presented our case and mentioned the fact that the complainant was unhappy with a property dispute settled in our favor over two years ago. The captain took note and we advised him that we would be at the meeting tomorrow as requested.
Follow my own Advice
Again, in my book, “The Philippines Expat Advisor,” I encourage anyone living in the Philippines to make sure they get along with their local barangay captain. The barangay captain can make your life peaceful or he can make it very miserable.
The Neighbors are Late
The next morning my asawa and I headed over to our barangay hall. We were 15 minutes early. The barangay captain invited us outside as we waited for the neighbors who had filed a complaint to arrive.
The meeting was to begin at 9:00 am. At 9:00 there was no still no sign of the complainants.
“If I was filing a complaint,” I said to the captain, “I would make sure I was on time for this meeting.”
The captain nodded his head.
Five more minutes passed. I asked our barangay captain how long we had to wait.
“Thirty minutes,” he answered, “if they do not show up by then the complaint is dismissed.”
The Meeting Begins
Finally, the neighbors arrived and the “kapitan” ushered all of inside his office. The barangay secretary was seated at our table, ready to take notes.
I wisely let my wife begin our defense. While the conversation was conducted in the local language, Ilonggo, I occasionally would pick up a word or two, but kept my mouth shut. Before the meeting, I had promised my asawa that I would remain calm.
After my spouse presented her case, the elderly lady who did not like the outcome of our previous property dispute spoke. My wife replied to her concerns and assured her that our fence had been repaired and that we would be checking it on a regular basis to make sure our dogs do not get out again.
The Daughter Speaks
The older woman’s daughter, who was in attendance, then spoke. She had not met with us the afternoon our dogs had escaped. She basically reiterated what her mother, nanay, had said. My wife repeated her assurance that the fence was repaired.
I apologized to the mother and daughter regarding the injury to their dog. The daughter, then in English, said she hoped the dogs would not come over the fence again and onto their property. I quickly explained that we have no control over any intruder who breaks through our fence as was the case a few months ago.
At that time, one of our dogs discovered a hole in the fence and killed two of our neighbors’ chickens. My asawa ended up paying 500 peso, ten bucks, for the dead birds. And yes, this was the same neighbor that we were now meeting with.
The Ati Incident
Almost two years ago my spouse came upon three members of the Ati tribe inside our property. The Ati, a mother and two small children, had trespassed onto our property. The mother held a handmade fishing pole.
Ati girl performing at the Manggahan Festival
The Ati tribe are a Negrito ethnic group mostly found in Western and Central Visayas. There is also a contingent of Ati on our island province of Guimaras.
The former owner of our property once kept a small lake of tilapia on the lot instead of growing rice. My wife informed the Ati intruders that they were trespassing. The former “lake” was right across the disputed property line. At the time, we did not own our security canine, “Killer,” our Belgian Shepard.
My wife believes that a member of the Ati tribe was responsible for the break-in that occurred a few months ago. She thinks it was someone looking for the large group of tilapia that used to be on the property. My better half has no proof of that but the fence was damaged in the area adjacent to where the fish used to be located.
I Finally Speak
I had already apologized to our neighbors for the attack on their dog. In my dissertation I explained it was our duty to make sure our fence was secure. I again reassured our neighbors that we would check the fence line on a regular basis.
The daughter said she understood English so I informed her that anyone caught trespassing on our property would be arrested. “Killer,” I advised her, is free to roam the property at night time. Any intruders, I assured her, would be dealt with harshly by our Belgian Shepard.
The Meeting Commences
The meeting ended with the barangay secretary reading her notes of the meeting. Both parties, our neighbors and my wife, sign the official record affirming that the matter had been settled to both parties satisfaction.
I shook hands with the barangay captain and then had the daughter and my wife exchange phone numbers. I encouraged the daughter to text my wife if she had any further problems.
It made more sense to me to discuss any issues beforehand and not bother our barangay official if we didn’t have to.
We boarded our Ford Ranger and headed home. Just another day in “paradise.”