Manila: Officials say Philippine troops on patrol have clashed with communist guerrillas in a mountainous northern province, leaving eight rebels dead and one soldier wounded.

Lt. Gen Arturo Ortiz says the troops encountered around 20 New People's Army rebels in Abra province's Tineg township on Monday morning.

He says a military helicopter ferried more troops to the area and provided air support during the gunbattle, which continued until afternoon.

Marxist rebels, estimated to number more than 4,000, have continued their attacks despite resuming peace talks this year aimed at settling one of Asia's longest-running communist insurgencies. Last week, more than 200 rebels attacked three nickel mining complexes in southern Surigao del Norte province.