Gunmen have shot and killed a town mayor and two of his bodyguards during a brazen attack in the northern Philippines early on Monday.
Authorities say Mayor Carlito Pentecostes, of the northern town of Gonzaga, was presiding over a flag raising ceremony when at least 20 assailants stormed the town hall.
The gunmen scattered leaflets as they fled. The content of the pamphlets was about black sand mining and the punishments people could expect if they participated in the mining.
Mayor Pentecostes was allegedly a proponent of black sand mining for his region. Environmental activists say the mining of beaches for the mineral magnetite destroys ecosystems.
Police officials say they believe the New People\’s Army, the military wing of the Philippines Communist Party is responsible for the attack.
The NPA has been waging a 45-year-old insurgency in the Southeast Asian archipelago.