Meliton Villagorda Catampungan, a 60 years old farmer and traffic enforcer, was shot to death on his way home in the afternoon of July 10, 2017.
At around 12:50 pm he stopped at a local convenience shop on the way back to his house. A man and a woman, both wearing helmets, arrived on a red motorcycle without a number plate. The woman got off the motorcycle and crossed the street towards Mr. Catampungan still wearing the helmet. She stood beside him while he was paying at the store and shot him three times in the armpit, then she got back to the motorcycle and drove away.
Mr. Catampungan was rushed to a hospital in Kitcharao but didn’t survive.
He was the chairman of the farmers’ group Nagkshiusang Mag-uuma sa Surigao del Norte (NAMASUN) – KMP, organization affiliated with leftist farmers’ group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).
KMP-Caraga bellieves Catampungan was killed by government agents because he was very vocal on his stand for agrarian reform and against the entry of military Peace and Development Program in farming communities in Surigao del Norte.
Earlier that same year, in May, Mr. Catampungan had to move from his former residence because some men, believed to be soldiers, were asking around for his whereabouts.
Violence and impunity against human rights defenders is a huge concern during Duterte’s administration. Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights, a non-government organization working for the promotion of human rights in the Philippines, documented 104 extrajudicial killings from July 2016 to October 2017. These are aside from the thousands of deaths attributed to Duterte’s war on drugs.