EMC: Death of Loreto mayor, son aimed at terrorizing Lumad communities

By on October 21, 2015

Loreto Mayor Dario Otaza (Facebook)
Loreto Mayor Dario Otaza (Facebook)

MANILA — The Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC) said Tuesday the rebel abduction and subsequent killing of Loreto Mayor Dario Otaza, 57 and his 27-year-old son Daryl, last Monday is an attempt to sow terror and intimidate the Lumad communities.

“The killing of Mayor Otaza and son is another Lumad killing purposely to sow terror and to intimidate the peace-loving Lumad communities,” EMC chief Lt. Gen. Aurelio Baladad on Tuesday said.

Eighteen suspected members of the NPA’s North Central Mindanao Regional Committee abducted the two 6:30 p.m. Monday at their residence in Barangay Baan , Butuan City.

The rebels posed as members of the NBI. The Otazas were found dead by pursuing 23rd Infantry Battalion troopers at 6:50 a.m. at Purok 2, Barangay Bitan-agan, Butuan City Tuesday.

Both men were hogtied and riddled with gunshot wounds.

“The Eastern Mindanao Command condemns these brutal acts of the CPP/NPA of attacking and killing civilians. Under the Internal Humanitarian Law and the Law of Armed Conflict, civilians and civilian properties should not be the object of attack,” Baladad said.

Otaza, a former NPA member turn peace-advocate was instrumental in the surrender of 154 NPA members during “Pagbabalik-Loob” in Agusan Del Sur last year.

Moreover, he facilitated the delivery of government services to indigenous peoples or Lumad communities.

It can be recalled that on Oct. 7, a Higaonon tribal leader Datu Ricardo Mandihinog Sulhayan of Nasipit, Agusan Del Norte was killed by NPA members.

On Oct. 12, the NPAs abducted another tribal leader known as Datu Saligando in Barangay Camagong, Nasipit, Agusan Del Norte.

It is observed that a series of killings and kidnappings against civilians in Lumad communities within Eastern Mindanao occurred during the 2nd and 3rd quarter of this year perpetrated by the NPAs.