Left-Wing activist leader killed in Philippines

Left-wing activist leader fatally shot by unidentified man, the latest in a string of vigilante-type killings in the central Philippines, police said Thursday.

Lawyer Norman Bocar had just stepped out of an inter-agency meeting in Eastern Samar province's capital before dawn Thursday when two armed men on a motorcycle shot him several times, provincial police chief Superintendent Pio Manito said.

Bocar is a tourism officer of the provincial government and regional chairman of the activist group Bayan. He is the latest victim in a string of vigilante-type killings apparently targeting activists in the area.

Bayan activists accuse a military general formerly assigned in the area of putting in place a policy to eliminate leaders critical of the government. The general has denied the charges.

"This is what happens when human rights violators are treated with kid gloves," Bayan chairwoman Carol Araullo said in a statement. "Killings are done with impunity, with utter disregard for basic rights."

A Bayan statement said from February to May this year, activists in the region recorded an average of 76 cases of human rights violations by the military per month, or more than two cases per day. It said they include illegal detention, torture and killings, reports the AP.

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