Doctor Irene Montilla admitted she was never really a politician, it was her late husband, former Isabela mayor Enrique Montilla III, who was into politics.
But being a neophyte official will not stop her from serving her people.
On Tuesday, she was proclaimed as town mayor after she defeated incumbent Mayor Joselito Malabor in the mayoralty race by a narrow margin of 48 votes.
In a sit-down with the STAR, the mayor-elect described the campaign trail in the past months as “very exhilarating” as it brought her to places she never been to before, adding that it was a “very good learning experience” for her.
“I was not born in Isabela, but this is my way of discovering how beautiful Isabela is,” she said. She said that meeting the people allowed her to discover what their real problems are, and it also helped her discover possible solutions to these problems.
She said her government will focus on bringing back progress and reforms to their town. These are the basic general services for the people, expanding the educational program, as well as prioritizing peace and order, and disaster preparedness.
She puts emphasis on education because it levels the playing field. “Education is important. It will take you where God wants you to be. It helps you to be the person you are meant to be,” she said.
She also promised to prioritize the security situation of their town because “people should know they’re secure at night and daytime. They should also know the government is concerned with their security.”
Improving the town’s disaster preparedness is also one of her priorities. “We should be prepared for times of disasters. We should make sure that during calamities, people are safe,” she added.
She also dreams of having a medical mobile unit for their town to bring healthcare services to the people in the uplands and far-flung villages. “I realized that health care is not a privilege, it should be provided to all,” she added.
If she had not been elected as mayor, she would be bartending and practicing her profession on the side.
She said her husband, who passed away in April 2017, and their three boys were her inspirations. “They inspire me to become a better person,” she added.
Montilla, the first lady mayor of the town and an internist for 28 years, said she is humbled by the support of her constituents. “I share this victory with all of you, with the hope that we will see Isabela as a progressive, peaceful and happy place for all of us to live in,” she added.*
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