Two unidentified motorcycle-riding men shot and killed a peasant leader in Arakan, North Cotabato on Tuesday morning.

Supt. Bernard Tayong, spokesperson of the police in North Cotabato, said the victim, Joel Gulmatico, 58, and chair of the Arakan Peasant Progressive Organization (APPO), was riding his motorcycle on his way to Barangay Naje when killed. The 9:15 a.m. murder happened 700 meters away from the victim’s house and at least 300 meters from the military’s 57th Infantry Battalion detachment. “He was traversing along the national highway when shot by the suspects,” Tayong said.

Gulmatico sustained two gunshot wounds. At least two empty shells from a .45 caliber pistol were recovered from the crime scene. Norma Capuyan, chair of the Apo Sandawa Lumandnong Panaghiusa sa Cotabato (ASLPC), condemned the killing and urged authorities to ensure the arrest of suspects. Capuyan said the victim had no known enemies in his community and was active in helping farmers in his village. Gulmatico also served as a barangay (village) councilman in Barangay Naje for three terms. He ran for village chair in 2013 but lost. Capuyan said the victim also opposed the entry of military’s Peace and Development Program (PDOP) in Barangay Naje. (Williamor A. Magbanua, Inquirer Mindanao)