COTABATO - A five-year-old boy was among three civilians killed by Muslim rebels in a failed raid on a military outpost in the restive southern Philippines, police said Friday.
Guerrillas of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) shot them during a botched attack in the town of Midsayap on the island of Mindanao late Thursday, they said.
The attack was the latest in an upsurge of violence by MILF rebels since two of the rebel group's commanders launched a series of attacks on civilian communities on August 4.
The attacks were prompted by the Supreme Court's order striking down a draft agreement intended to pave the way for a formal peace accord between the government and the 12,000-member MILF.
Dozens of civilians have been killed and more than half a million people displaced by the fighting, which prompted President Gloria Arroyo to suspend peace talks with the insurgents.
Speaking on Mindanao on Friday, Arroyo said her government was releasing half a billion pesos (10.4 million dollars) to help civilians rebuild their lives after being displaced by the MILF attacks.
"Our rehabilitation component will include reconstruction of houses that were damaged or burned, giving livelihood to those who lost their livelihood means," and providing food and shelter to other civilians, she said.
She also reiterated that her government would not be reopening peace talks with the MILF, saying it would instead open dialogue with Muslim communities in an effort to end the 40-year Muslim insurgency in the southern Philippines.
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