The Philippines government is demanding an end to a months-long offensive in the troubled south before any peace talks can take place.
The government wants a stop to the MILF’s guerrilla attacks targeting vulnerable government targets and random bomb and grenade attacks.
Short of those attacks stopping, Manila has vowed to carry out massive counterattack under the leadership of Military chief General Alexander Yano.
The government would also boost its intelligence operations to capture rebel commanders.
Despite the escalation of the conflict, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leadership has reacted positively to a new team of negotiators to Malaysia for exploratory talks in the third week of Jan 2009 led by the government's chief peace negotiator, Rafael Seguis.
Malaysia which had voluntarily played a role in this conflict in negotiations has expressed frustration over the slow pace of the negotiations and thus the talks were suspended since August 2008.
It was in the same month that the MILF launched raids across the southern island of Mindanao after a Filipino court stopped a proposed agreement giving them control over an autonomous region.
The clashes have gravely affected the south with half a million people displaced and 300 civilians and combatants have been killed.
Aljazeera, "Aid workers abducted in Philippines" dated 15 Jan 2009 in the Aljazeera.net website [downloaded on 15 Jan 2009], available athttp://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia-pacific/2009/01/2009115691049731....
Channelnewsasia/AFP"Philippine rebels say no peace talks unless troops end offensive" dated 15 January 2009 in the Channelnewsasia website [downloaded on 15 Jan 2009], available at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/402563/1/.ht...