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presidential spokeswoman described the move as a "painful step", but said leaders were still open to talks.
The government had agreed to expand an existing Muslim autonomous zone in a bid to end decades of violence.
But Christian communities opposed the deal and when the Supreme Court blocked it, the rebels launched attacks.
Earlier this week, raids by guerrillas from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on several towns near the border of the existing autonomous zone in the southern