Senator Aquilino Pimentel said the government should now propose the establishment of a Bangsa Moro federal state when talks between the government and the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) starts in Malaysia next month.

"There is no other formula to end the incessant armed struggles in Mindanao," said Pimentel, while adding that the federal system of government should have 10 component states, including a Bangsa Moro federal state for the Muslims in southern Philippines.

In the Bangsa Moro federal state, the Moros will have ample freedom to preserve, protect and promote their culture among their own people and in their own federal state, he added.

At the re-opening of the formal talks in Kuala Lumpur in mid-December, the government panel is reportedly set to offer a "political package" to the MILF.

Sceptical of its effectiveness, Pimentel explained: "I don't see the peace negotiations going anywhere if the government does not offer a political package that will fulfil the rebels' aspiration for meaningful autonomy and convince them to abandon altogether their secessionist objective."

The government agreed to autonomy as a political settlement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in 1996.

The MNLF wanted an expanded Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao with 19 provinces and 13 cities, to fulfil the spirit of the peace settlement reached by former dictator Ferdinand Marcos and MNLF chairman Nur Misuari in Tripoli, Libya, in 1976.

The expansion of the autonomous region, through two referendums, in 1986 and in 2001, resulted in six ARMM members.

"If the government offers to the MILF the same package it has offered to the MNLF, I think the peace talks with the MILF will simply be another cosmetic session that will not lead to a just and peaceful settlement of the Moro grievances," said Pimentel.

Malaysia, a member of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), is brokering the Philippine government-MILF peace talks.