TALISAY CITY – The mayor of a border town in the province said local Reds should first get the trust of people in Negros before talks with them should even be considered.
Irene Montilla, a physician who is now on her first term as mayor of Isabela town, said the problem is the NPA cannot stay put or “pahimuyong” in Hiligaynon and “cannot stick to any agreement.”
Montilla, the wife of the late sugar industry leader and former town mayor Enrique III, said the “problem is…behind our backs or parallel to the peace talks there is activity going on.”
Since negotiations with the CPP-NPA and its political arm, the National Democratic Front started in 1986, terminations have always been hinged on military actions being conducted by the rebels and government forces against each other even when talks are being held abroad.
Isabela is a second class town in the central part of the province that shares borders with the city of Guihulngan, and the towns of La Libertad and Jimalalud in Oriental Negros.
This makes it an ideal place for the highly-mobile NPA whose forces usually bivouac in areas that share borders.
Montilla said unless the Reds honor agreements, the peace talks would become “insignificant.”
Peace and order a priority
Montilla admitted their town’s geographical location has made them “insurgency-laden.”
“We really have an insurgency problem” that is why peace and and order is the number one priority of my administration,” Montilla told DNX.
She added the national task force created by President Duterte to end local communist armed conflict (NTF-ELCAC) as spelled out in Executive Order No. 70, series of 2018 is supposed to be “a peaceful way to bring them back to the folds of the law” but if the rebels insist in “wreaking havoc anywhere they can,” then the full force of the law should be brought down on them.
WATCH: Mayor Irene Montilla reacts to reports that the CPP-NPA is planning to step up military operations with the opening of sugar milling season in Negros Occidental.