‘Dap-ay’ system kindles development for Tubo

The “Dap-ay” system, the distinct indigenous way of governance of the Maeng tribe of Tubo, Abra plays a crucial role in the development of the town while preserving culture.
“The old system of the Dap-ay had made governance easier for me as a local chief executive because through the help of the Council of Elders, I get a full grasp of the priority needs of my constituents,” said Mayor Guilbert Ballangan.
Dap-ay is a system of governance among the Maeng tribe that dates back centuries ago. It involves the principle of collective decision-making, tribal solidarity, and collective leadership with indigenous leaders and elders as major players.
Guided by the principle of transparency and accountability in the stewardship of government, Ballangan had displayed his dynamic leadership by respecting the integrity of the Council of Elders in all phases of the development process.
Aware that involvement of elders in policy making and governance increases community participation, Ballangan has sought the assistance of the Council of Elders even in planning for projects in order to identify the appropriate response to the community needs and problems.
Because Tubo has always been isolated during the rainy seasons, it was inevitable that construction/improvement of roads and bridges came out as the top priority needs.
Given the limited funds as the local government unit rely heavily on their share in the Internal Revenue Allotment, the Municipal Development Council in collaboration with the local finance committee and the Council of Elders decided to construct spillways instead of tall bridges that cost much.
With the 20 percent Economic Development Fund out of the IRA and augmented by their share from the RA 7171 funds otherwise known as Tobacco Excise Tax, the LGU was able to construct eight spillways to connect all the barangays and sitios with the Supo-San Emilio, Ilocos Sur Spillway as high-impact project that provides them all-year round access to the outside world.
The municipality of Tubo is crisscrossed by three major rivers namely the Utip River, Damanil River and the Diling Valley River.
Ballangan said they have also built additional three footbridges to serve the farmers and school children and save them from drowning when the rivers swell.
Moreover, through collaboration with the Council of Elders, the local government unit was able to work for the improvement of the Sabnangan, Luba – Amtuagan, Tubo Road which is part of a national road, and the provincial road in the boundary of Pega, Luba to Poblacion, Tubo. They also worked for the concreting of the Poblacion-Dilong Road which is part of the Abra-Cervantes National Road.
All 10 barangays and four sitios have also covered courts where they can hold their cultural activities on special occasions like their Begnas or thanksgiving fiestas.
In pursuit of special community development projects, the people of Tubo participate in the “Ganap”, their indigenous system of sharing free labor.
Aside from the dap-ay system, the Maeng tribe of Tubo is also known for their lapat, a community-based resource management system of regulating and prohibiting the harvesting of forest and water by-products to maintain biodiversity.
With their limited local revenues but with good governance and guidance of the elders and the good values of the people, Tubo is moving forward slowly but steadily.
Through Congressman JB Bernos, three vital infrastructure projects are being implemented in Tubo. These are the flood control structure in Wayangan and Supo, the opening of Tubtuba, Tubo-Besao Mountain Province Road, and the widening and clearing of the Tourism Road to Mainit Waterfalls and Hot Spring in Brgy. Kili.**JDP/MTBB – PIA CAR, Abra

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