Kato Ottio was a shining star to his family, his clan, the entire Motu-Koitabu community and the country at large.
He rose to prominence in rugby league in a very short space of time.
It was something that no former prominent rugby league player had achieved.
That made him different and outstanding from other players who had risen through the rank-and-file of rugby league in PNG.
He was truly loved and adored by many rugby league followers around the country and abroad.
Kato Ottio became a household name in the country and his death has broken the hearts of both young and old, and families across this nation.
Many shed tears openly across the country, which I believe did not happen when our prominent business and political leaders passed on.
I cried and my children cried bitterly as well.
This was despite them not having met him at all. I did on a few occasions.
We attended the final haus krai days at Tatana village until he was buried.
What amazed me was the patriotism Kato Ottio created in our country.
Whether they met him once or not at all, that did not matter.
They were all proud of the shinning Kumul star who raised the profile and identity of this country.
They adopted Kato as their son and brother emotionally.
He made PNG proud and his departure has left PNG sad and broken hearted.
The positive impact Kato had caused in the lives of many people in this diverse country indicated to us that while other social, business and political activities can cause divisions, sport can be a powerful agent of change.
Sport can create national unity and patriotism, particularly in rugby league, which is our national sport.
Government and private sector investment in rugby league is justified because we have seen the national impact in this country through the passing of Kato Ottio
The current government has truly resurrected rugby league from shambles to where it is now.
As a nation, we must give credit to where it is due.
Justin Tkatchenko, the current Minister for Lands who was the Minister for Sports in the last government, Prime Minister Peter O Neill, and his former Cabinet members deserve the credit.
We encourage the government to continue to invest in rugby league and other sports.
We should also acknowledge the hardworking chairman of
PNGRFL Sandis Tsaka, and his board members, for providing leadership and foresight that has raised the standard of rugby league in this country over the last five to six years.
To the young boys and girls from Motu-Koitabu villages and across the country: Kato Ottio has set a benchmark and built a lighthouse which should inspire you to achieve your dreams in sport and create your own legacy.
Joe Wemin Yuri