Seven people were killed and 1,000 forced to flee their homes as fresh fighting broke out when Muslim separatist guerrillas attacked civilians in the southern Philippines, the military said on Tuesday.
One civilian was killed and six others wounded when militants from the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) harassed residents of Tulunan town, forcing the military to intervene on Sunday, a statement said.
Soldiers clashed with the MILF fighters and an air force OV-10 attack plane bombed their positions, forcing the rebels to withdraw.
Fighting continued into Tuesday as soldiers pursued the rebels, said military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Ponce, adding that six guerrillas had been confirmed dead so far.
Several villages near the combat area were totally abandoned as residents fled the fighting, the military said.
Although some residents had returned home after the rebels left, many were still staying at evacuation centres set up in nearby villages, said local police spokesman Chief Inspector Alexander Sarabia.
The 12,000-member MILF has been waging a decades-old insurgency to set up a Muslim state in the southern Philippines, where Christian settlers now outnumber the original inhabitants.
Peace talks were suspended last August after two MILF commanders launched attacks on Christian communities in retaliation for the Supreme Court blocking a draft peace agreement that would have given the Muslims political and economic control of large areas of the south.