DAVAO CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – The mayor of Laak town in Compostela Valley was shot dead in an ambush on Wednesday morning, May 28, the military said.
Captain Alberto Caber, public affairs chief of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command, said Mayor Reynaldo Navarro was traveling on a major highway when unknown assailants opened fire in K9, Barangay Sagayen, Asuncion in Davao del Norte at around 9 am.
“Soldiers of 60IB and PNP are now in the area for investigation and joint operations,” Caber said.
Capt Ernest Carolina, spokesman of the 10th infantry divison, said Navarro was declared dead on arrival at the Tagum Doctors Hospital.
He added that two suspects were killed in the exchange of gunfire.
The New People’s Army (NPA) earlier accused Navarro as one of the leaders of the “Big 4 logging lords” in the province.
“Laak Mayor Rey Navarro is misrepresenting himself when he denied being part of the Big 4 logging lords. Raw footage taken by comrades showed rampant logging in several interior roads in Brgy. Ampawid and Brgy. Andap – proof that actual logging is taking place in Laak town. Navarro attempted to absolve himself by saying that Laak was merely a transit point of trucks coming from the boundary of Agusan del Sur, site of logging operations,” according to NPA-Comval-North Davao South Agusan Sub-regional Command spokesperson Ka Aris Francisco in a previous statement.
Francisco warned Navarro and his alleged accomplices that the NPA will take action if they continued with their logging activities.
“For as long as local reactionaries like Navarro continue to make big business out of the remaining forest resources, the NPA will impose measures to protect the environment and peasants, Lumads and masses who suffer from the effects of rampant logging,” Francisco has said. – Rappler.com