murder of Agusan del Sur Mayor
Oct. 21 — The Palace condemns the murder of Mayor Dario Otaza of Loreto, a
town in Agusan del Sur province, and his son Daryl, by armed men believed to
be members of the New People's Army (NPA).
The two were abducted from their home on Monday night and were found dead at
7 a.m. on Tuesday, hogtied with multiple gunshot wounds, in the vicinity of
Purok 2, Barangay Bitan-agan, Butuan City.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this cowardly act. We hope that
Mayor Otaza's death unites the people of Agusan del Sur, the Manobos and the
entire Lumad community, and every decent Filipino in working sincerely
towards lasting, meaningful peace,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma
Jr. said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
“Mayor Otaza was a Manobo, a Lumad, and a former NPA rebel himself. Since
his surrender, he has been an invaluable partner for peace in the region.
His programs to ensure that former rebels have the means to lead dignified
lives as part of mainstream society have encouraged many insurgents to lay
down their arms. Observers have lauded the success of these programs,” he
The Palace official said the Philippine National Police, with the support of
the Armed Forces, has intensified its operations to bring the perpetrators
Undersecretary Manny Bautista of the Cabinet Cluster on Security, Justice
and Peace also issued a statement condemning the killings.
“We strongly condemn the murder of Mayor Dario Otaza and Daryl Otaza, as we
condemn all the attacks on the Lumad peoples. We grieve with his family, the
people of Loreto, the Manobos and other indigenous peoples, and the entire
Filipino public. Rest assured that our law enforcement personnel will exert
every effort to bring the perpetrators of this grisly, cowardly crime to
justice,” said Bautista.
“Mayor Otaza was a staunch partner of peace in Agusan del Sur. A member of
the Manobo indigenous group, he stood as the representative of the Lumad
peoples, ensuring that IP communities were not left behind. He founded
programs that allowed rebel returnees like himself to live dignified lives
upon their return to mainstream society,” Bautista's statement further said.
He said the Butuan City local government has activated its crisis committee
and was scheduled to call for a press conference later in the day. (PCOO/PND)