MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/05 July) – The New People’s Army has admitted responsibility in the killing of Mayor Mario Okinlay of Impasugong, Bukidnon on Wednesday.
In a statement written in Cebuano sent 9:26 p.m. Friday, the NPA North-Central Mindanao Region spokesperson Allan Juanito said Okinlay was killed for his “counter-revolutionary activities in the guise of peace and development” in the barangays.
The statement said snipers from the NPA South-Central Bukidnon Sub-Regional Command carried out the operation at around 8 a.m. on July 2.
It said Okinlay and his convoy had come from Barangay Bontongon escorted by police and soldiers from the 8th Infantry Battalion when the guerrillas carried out the attack.
The rebel group accused Okinlay of aiding the military in implementing Oplan Bayanihan, the government’s counterinsurgency strategy, since 2013.
“Okinlay did not recognize the CARHRIHL (Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law) and international laws of war. Believing he was the king of Impasugong, he allowed the 8thIB to live with civilians, occupy public buildings in some barangays, put up checkpoints wherever and whenever they wanted.
“In some barrios, they made the people starve by limiting to five kilos the rice that each family may buy, and restricted the villagers’ livelihood activities, restricting their farm work from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.,” the statement said.
Juanito added that Okinlay refused to heed the “people’s issues” brought to his attention in 2006 and snubbed another warning from the NPA last year.
“In his anti-communist discourses in pulong-pulong (community meetings) that condemned the revolutionary movement, he sounded like a government that feared nothing. Okinlay knew the gravity of his offenses against the revolution that’s why…he always had a large armed escort in his trips,” the statement said.
The NPA further accused the slain mayor of grabbing lands from at least 50 people or not paying for lands that were planted to oil palm, and of persecuting those who did not vote for him.
Meanwhile, Gov. Jose Maria R. Zubiri Jr. has scheduled a peace rally on Monday in Impasugong. (MindaNews)