Malacañang and the military on Tuesday condemned the abduction and killing of Loreto, Agusan del Sur Mayor Dario Otaza and his son Daryl by alleged communist rebels disguised as National Bureau of Investigation agents on Oct. 19, 2015 at his residence in Barangay Baan, Butuan City.
The Army’s 4th infrantry division said it joined all tribal communities and the peace-loving people of Northern Mindanao in condemning the New People’s Army for killing a lumad and peace advocate.
The bodies of Otaza and his son Daryl were found in Barangay Bitan-agan, Butuan City at around 6 a.m. Tuesday after their abduction.
In Malacañang, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. described the abduction and killing as an cowardly act even and said that the Aquino administration “hopes that Otaza’s death unites the people of Agusan del Sur, the Manobos and the entire lumad community in working sincerely towards lasting, meaningful peace.”
The military for its part decried “ the terroristic act and brutality of the NPA bandits. The killing of Mayor Otaza and his son was brutal and blatant execution,” Major Gen. Oscar T Lactao, Commander of 4th Infantry Division said,
“This is another Lumad killing purposely to sow threat and violence among the peace-loving Lumads and to the Filipino people as a whole,” Lactao added.
Otaza was an icon of Local Chief Executives in the campaign for peace and development.
Otaza was a former member of NPA who later on surrendered after realizing that the armed struggle was not the solution to the country’s problem.
As mayor and member of the Provincial Tribal Council in Agusan del Sur, he liberated his town from NPA exploitation and manipulation.
“He was successful in encouraging 246 NPA leaders and members, majority of whom are Lumad, to surrender and return to their normal and peaceful lives. Under his leadership, development has started to set-in in his town of Loreto benefiting his constituents,” Lactao added.
“The attack on Mayor Otaza is a clear and undeniable proof of the NPA’s human rights atrocities in Lumad communities. This is also a solid proof of the NPA’s continuing campaign to take control of our Lumads and anyone who gets in their way is killed in the process.” Lactao stressed.
Lactao urged the Filipino Nation to join us in our cry for justice and calling on Karapatan and other organizations who are calling for the end of Lumad killings to similarly condemn this dastardly act and denounce the NPA’s human rights violations.
“Let not Mayor Otaza’s death be the end of his advocacy for his people, but rather an inspiration to others to pursue peace and development for Loreto.” Lactao added.
“We sympathize with his family, relatives, friends, love ones, and constituents. The AFP will intensify operations to go after the perpetrators of this cowardly attack and at the same time ensure that Lumad tribesmen loyal to Mayor Otaza will not conduct revenge killings as the attack could trigger a new wave of violence among Lumad factions. This is unfortunate because the AFP, PNP and our LGUs have been working hard to de-escalate the situation,” Lactao said. With Florante Solmerin and Sandy Araneta