The Philippines government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have vowed to continue pursuing peace despite the bloody clash in Mindanao on January 25 that left 44 policemen and 18 Muslim rebels dead.

Government Chief Negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer told a press briefing on January 31 after two-day talks in Kuala Lumpur that disarming the MILF rebels, a necessary move of peace progress, will start with the handover of 75 guns in March.

Meanwhile, MILF Chief Negotiator Mohagher Iqbal also reiterated his commitment to the peace process, regarding the disarming as his group’s “sacrifice”.

The disarming is one of three main agreements in an effort of both sides to exhibit great trust after Mindanao incident.

They will hold a conference on February that focuses on dealing with crime and terrorism in order to strengthen the security cooperation between the government and the MILF.

The two sides also agreed to extend the stay of the International Monitoring Team and the joint action force against crime and terrorism for another year.

The Philippines’ Government signed an agreement with the MILF, the largest rebel group in the south, in March 2014, ending a 45-year conflict that has killed more than 120,000 people and displaced another 2 million.

The deal, which was attained with Malaysia playing as an intermediary, facilitates the establishment of an autonomous Muslim region by mid-2016 in return for the Muslim group of 120,000 rebels surrendering their weapons.

Accordingly, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which is composed of five provinces in the Southern Philippines, will be called Bangsamoro instead and offered greater economic and political power.

It will pave the way for the government to stimulate the growth in one of the poorest regions in the country.-VNA