Military hunts down killers of mayor, son
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Philippine military has launched an operation to capture communist rebels tagged as behind the killings of a town mayor and his son in Mindanao.
Gunmen seized the 53-year old Dario Otaza, the mayor of Loreto town in Agusan del Sur province and his son Daryl, 27, on October 19 in Butuan City. Their bodies were recovered the next day in the village of Bitan-agan, according to Captain Alberto Caber, a spokesman for the army’s Eastern Mindanao Command.
Otaza was also a former member of the communist rebel group New People’s Army which is suspected of ordering the killings of the politician and his son in retaliation to mayor’s support to the government’s antiinsurgency campaign in his town.
No individual or group claimed responsibility for the raid, but Caber strongly condemned the killings and blamed the NPA for the twin murders.
“The soldiers of 23rd Infantry Battalion, who are part of the pursuing troops in support to the law enforcement efforts, found the bodies of Mayor Otaza and Daryl hogtied with multiple gunshot wounds in different parts of their bodies in Bitan-agan,” Caber said. “The Eastern Mindanao Command condemns these brutal acts of the CPP/NPA.”
CPP refers to the Communist Party of the Philippines, which has been waging a separatist war for many decades now.
Last year, Otaza – a member of an indigenous tribe – facilitated the surrender of more than 150 communist rebels, and was instrumental in the delivery of government services to indigenous communities in Loreto town.
“The killing of Mayor Otaza and son is purposely to sow terror and to intimidate the peace-loving Lumad communities,” Caber said, blaming the NPA for the numerous murders of tribal leaders who were supporting the military’s campaign in the region, where security forces are battling insurgents. KORONADAL CITY – Thousands of mostly poor people joined the recent celebration of “Freedom from Poverty Day” held at the South Cotabato Gymnasium and Cultural Center here.
Many of those who participated in the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty came from “SOCSKSARGEN” which stands for South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City in central Mindanao, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), its organizer.
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Department of Social Welfare and Development Regional Director (XII) Bai Zorahayda T. Taha (2nd left with hijab) with Secretary Corazon ‘Dinky’ Soliman (2nd from right) and South Cotabato Governor Daisy Avance-Fuentes during the recent celebration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty attended by more than 6,000 beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. (Mindanao Examiner Photo – Mark Navales)