Philippine police Thursday were investigating the death of the vice mayor of Sapa Sapa town in Zamboanga in the south of the country, making him the sixth mayor to have died violently in the last 10 days.

Al-Rasid Mohammad Alih, 53, was shot multiple times by one of two men on a motorcycle as he was driving home in his car, in the same way two local officials were killed last week, the Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported Thursday.

Alih was taken to a hospital in Zamboanga after receiving two gunshot wounds to the chest and died while he was being treated, PNA said.

The vice mayor was driving with his family but the only ones to have been shot were Alih and his security detail.

According to the police report, when Alih's vehicle slowed down a hitman approached and fired at him after which he ran to the other side of the road where a motorcycle with another rider was waiting for him.

The police have already opened an investigation and suspect Alih's death to be linked with his decision to run as mayor in May 2019 municipal elections, Philippine National Police chief, Oscar Albayalde, said Thursday.

Since Rodrigo Duterte assumed the presidency two years ago, at least 11 mayors and six vice mayors in the Philippines have been killed, something that the opposition and human rights defenders have attributed to the culture of impunity that Duterte has established in the country with his violent anti-drug campaign.