Two outgoing mayors in
province concluded that declaration of insurgency-free of status is not a
guarantee that an area is free from threats of New People’s Army (NPA).
Pinabacdao town Mayor Mario Quijano and Motiong town Mayor Francisco Langi recalled that NPA were active in supporting some candidates and harass voters in the past elections despite insurgency-free declarations.
“Many people in
province failed to exercise their rights to vote because of NPA threats,”
recalled Quijano, who lost his re-election bid in the recent elections.
Langi, whose son lost in the mayoralty race, emphasized the need for the Philippine Army to maintain their presence in declared rebel-free areas.
The two officials said they never expected that threat from the members of the NPA would prevail in the 2016 elections.
Capt. Ian Fabellon, spokeperson of the Philippine Army’s 8th infantry division said that they could not be blamed since the town chief executives are signatories in the declaration as well.
Both officials believed that this matter should be taken in consideration with the formal peace talks between the incoming administration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and the national Democratic Front.