Stephen Omaois

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Omaois’ body was found in a garbage bin on the outskirts of Tabuk in remote Kalinga Province. Police believe Omaois, 24, was bludgeoned to death, according to international news reports.

Omaois, a writer for the community newspaper Guru Press, had been reporting on a public works project in the town of Pinukpok, according to the Philippine Inquirer, quoting Guru Press editor Estafania Kollin. The Inquirer reported that staff members at Guru Press had received threats related to the story.

Regional police arrested Tabuk Central School teacher Joey Patalig in connection with Omaois’ murder. Kalinga Police Chief James Dogao told reporters that he does not believe the murder was job-related, although local journalists urged police to widen their investigation.

Omaois was also a broadcast journalist for government-run radio DZRK.

Kalinga Province is an isolated and mountainous region about 200 miles (330 kilometers) north of Manila. Populated by several indigenous tribal communities, it has been the breeding ground for a low-level Communist insurgency.