A local landowner and his driver died in an ambush by suspected members of the New People's Army (NPA) in Calatrava town in Negros Occidental on Thursday morning.
The pick-up driven by the landowner, Norberto Lumayno, was filled with bullet holes after a group of armed men believed to be members of the NPA ambushed the vehicle at around 7:00 AM.
Lumayno and his driver, Danilo Braga, who was seated at the passenger seat, were killed.
Lumayno was on his way to his sugar plantation when the ambush happened.
Chief Insp. John Joel Batusbatusan, chief of Calatrava Police, said the armed men might have been staying inside the sugarcane field for days since canned goods were recovered inside the plantation.
"Ang dami kasing sardines at tuna na de lata sa loob, baka more than 2 days na sila diyan nag-aabang," he said.
Kelly Lumayno-Emnace, Norberto's sister, said there had been groups claiming the land which her brother owns, and that land conflict was the only motive they can think of for the killing of her brother.
"Sana kinuha na lang nila ang lupa, huwag lang ang buhay ng kapatid ko," Emnace said.
The police also confirmed the victim had a land conflict.
There were reports that after firing at the victims, the armed men shouted "Mabuhay ang NPA," but this has yet to be confirmed by the PNP.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Army and members of the NPA reportedly had an encounter in Barangay Minautok, a barangay adjacent to Minapasok where the ambush took place.
Classes in 2 elementary schools in the barangay have been suspended due to the firefight.