Thirteen Muslim separatist rebels were killed while two soldiers were hurt in separate clashes in the southern Philippines, the military said Tuesday.
It said 10 guerrillas from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were killed Tuesday in a firefight in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao province, 960 kilometres south of Manila, reported dpa.
Colonel Marlou Salazar, an army brigade commander, said the combat occurred when soldiers encountered the rebels in a remote village in Mamasapano.
"There were many troops involved in the clash," he said. "The fighting is ongoing on the ground."
MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu said the military was conducting airstrikes on suspected rebel positions in three villages in Mamasapano. He denied the rebel group suffered any casualties.
On Sunday, three MILF rebels were killed in combat in the village of Malingaw in nearby Shariff Aguak town, also in Maguindanao province, according to Major Randolph Cabangbang.
Two soldiers were also hurt in the clash, Cabangbang said.
Fighting has been on and off between the MILF and the military since August, when the guerrillas launched a series of deadly attacks in the southern region of Mindanao.
The MILF attacks occurred after the Supreme Court stopped the signing of a land deal that would have expanded an autonomous Muslim region in Mindanao.
More than 200 people, including civilians, were killed in the MILF attacks and subsequent clashes with the military. More than 500,000 were also displaced at the height of the fighting.
Due to the hostilities, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo dissolved the government peace panel negotiating with the MILF and ordered a review of the peace talks with the rebel group.
Various organizations, including the Organization of Islamic Conference, have called on the Philippine government and the MILF to resume the stalled talks.
But Arroyo has stressed the government will only return to the negotiating table if the MILF disarms and demobilizes its forces and reintegrates them into society.