GOVERNMENT security forces have engaged elements of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in a firefight that resulted in the death of a civilian militia member but in the process also saved the lives of two government officials.
Capt. Amado Gutierrez, spokesman, Eight Infantry Division, said on Wednesday that the encounter between the Jole-Jole Detachment of the 52nd Infantry Battalion and some 30 rebels took place in Barangay San Jorge, Las Navas, Northern Samar.
According to Gutierrez, the soldiers were providing route security to representatives from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) when the insurgents engaged them.
The officials, he added, participated in a consultative dialogue held in Barangay San Miguel in Las Navas.
He said the dialogue was organized to address agrarian and environmental protection issues in the village.
Gutierrez identified the slain militiaman as Marlon Rebadulla, a member of the Cafgu Active Auxiliary Force.
Gutierrez claimed that the rebels also suffered undetermined number of casualties as indicated by bloodstains seen along their route of withdrawal.
Recovered from the firefight site were a hand grenade and two loaded magazines for M16 rifle.