Tayab Aboli was a Kalinga brave from Bugnay, Tinglayan, Kalinga and a member of the Butbut tribe, the same tribe to which (Bantayog martyrs) Macli-ingDulag and Pedro Dungoc belonged. A farmer, he was married to Forngay of the same village and they were blessed with seven children. A respected member of his community, his traditional role was the defense of his tribe and community in the event of tribal wars. He was also a barrio councilman in the 1960s onwards.
History of Tayab Aboli’s political involvement
Following the declaration of martial law in 1972, Kalinga was thrown into turmoil when the government embarked on a program to build a series of dams along the Chico River. As the project will submerge many communities from the Mt. Province down to Kalinga, people in the affected villages expectedly opposed these dams because it meant the obliteration of settlements and the destruction of ricefields, farms and even burial grounds.
Opposition was initially confined to areas along the river such as Bugnay, Ngibat, Butbut and Tomiangan in Tinglayan but it later spread to other communities. Tayab, as Aboli was known, actively participated in the resistance, along with the well-known faces of the anti-dam struggle –Macli-ing Dulag, Lumbaya Gayudan and Pedro Dungoc. He met with other tribes to broaden the resistance as well as joined meetings in Baguio and Manila to draw support from other organizations. He actively participated in the first ever inter-tribal bodong (peace pact) against the dam in early 1975 and the historic Vochong Conference on Development in May 1975 in Quezon City. The conference was attended by 165 Peace Pact Holders and tribal leaders from Bontoc and Kalinga as well as members of church-based support groups. This resulted in the adoption of the Anti-Dam Pagta ti Bodong (laws of the peace pact).
Tayab also had the added task of keeping the village elders safe from physical threats and danger in these meetings and consultations. (He was the de facto security of pangat Macli-ing Dulag.)
Unable to read and write, he took part in an adult literacy program conducted in Butbut by the Episcopal Commission on Tribal Filipinos. He learned the rudiments of basic literacy that enabled him to write his name and read.
In response to the growing anti-dam resistance, the government brought to bear on the community its various forces, employing suppression and cooptation. The area became heavily militarized with the resultant military abuses. In the course of government efforts to quell the opposition, many were arrested and imprisoned, manhandled or threatened. Looting became commonplace, livestock taken or killed, and movement of people restricted. Many farms became neglected.
In 1980, Macli-ing Dulag was murdered by the military and Tayab became the OIC Barrio Captain. On his shoulders fell the task of leading his community in the anti-dam struggle. He organized the village militia for the defense of the community. He successfully managed the people’s cooperative which provided logistics for the militia. As expected, he soon became the target of the military. Drawing lessons from the fate of Macli-ing, Tayab decided to join the New People’s Army in 1982.
By 1986, he was a leading member of the Lumbaya Company which formed the core of the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army that later exchanged sipat (peace tokens) with President Corazon Aquino in Mt. Data, Bauko, Mt. Province in September 1986. Known as the Mt. Data Peace Accord, this act paved the way for peace negotiations between the new democratic government and their group.
Circumstance of death
Tayab Aboli later went back to Bugnay and continued to serve his community. He was eventually elected Barangay Kagawad in 1990 and became a member of the municipal Sanguniang Bayan in 1997. Recognizing his service, he was elected barangay head in 2007. He died from a lingering illness on December 30, 2007. He was 57.
He is survived by his wife Forngay and their children. His son, Rev. Jose Ampac, is a pastor of the Philippine Episcopal Church serving in Bauko, Mt. Province.