Soldiers backed by attack helicopters have killed eight communist rebels over the past week in the southern Philippines as part of a stepped-up campaign against the guerrillas, an army commander said Saturday. The military is under orders from President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to end the 40-year-old Maoist insurgency, one of Asia's longest, by 2010. Lt. Col. Milfredo Meligrito, commander of the 57th Infantry Battalion, said soldiers killed seven New People's Army guerrillas Friday in a battle outside Tulunan township in Cotabato province. He said another guerrilla was killed in a clash Monday. Troops were pursuing a few dozen guerrillas who fled but there were no reports of firefights Saturday.