NPA claims killing of IP leader in Malaybalay City
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The New People’s Army (NPA) on Saturday admitted that it was behind the May 17 killing of Datu Benjamin “Otto” Omao, the indigenous peoples’ (IP) mandatory representative to the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Malaybalay City legislative council.
In a statement, the NPA said Omao was targeted for “committing various crimes,” including land-grabbing.
“Datu Omao was a criminal, a land-grabber, an intimidating and deep-rooted counterrevolutionary. He was notorious in the area for his association with the bandit group Delamance,” said Ariel “Inda” Magbanwag, the NPA-South Central Bukidnon spokesperson.
Omao was inside his office in Barangay Casisang in Malaybalay City when shot dead by several armed men. He was serving his second term as mandatory IP representative at the time of his death. At the Malaybalay City council, he chaired the ethnic and indigenous cultural communities’ development committee.
Magbanwag said Omao was being coddled by the military since 1995 and had only became IP representative because he had coerced tribal leaders into voting for him.
He said Omao was also active in recruiting members for the armed group Alamara in Cabanglasan and Malaybalay.
“He had threatened lumad who opposed him. In village meetings, he had been blatant in challenging the NPA,” Magbanwag said. RC
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