THE military said its troops have clashed with about 20 communist guerrillas in Compostela Valley province, killing three rebels and capturing another.

Regional military spokesman Major Randolph Cabangbang said Sunday that the soldiers stumbled on the guerrillas deep inside a jungle in the southern province, sparking a gunbattle that killed three New People's Army (NPA) rebels and wounded another.

Cabangbang said the wounded rebel was captured after the fighting Saturday. Troops seized three rifles.

It is the latest flare-up of violence in a Marxist rebellion running for more than 40 years. The military said it is on track to meet President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's deadline to end the insurgency by the time her term ends in June. (AP)