A Philippine flag flown at half-mast at Fernando Air Base Tuesday as soldiers mourn the death of 44 members of the PNP Special Action Force killed during an encounter with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters. The MILF claims the clash Sunday erupted due to lack of coordination, when the elite cops tried to capture Malaysian bomb expert Marwan. (MNS photo)

A Philippine flag flown at half-mast at Fernando Air Base Tuesday as soldiers mourn the death of 44 members of the PNP Special Action Force killed during an encounter with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters. The MILF claims the clash Sunday erupted due to lack of coordination, when the elite cops tried to capture Malaysian bomb expert Marwan. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – The bloody clash that killed 44 Special Action Force police personnel in Mamasapano in Maguindanao last Jan. 25 should be the last ugly turn on the road to peace, government peace negotiators said Saturday.

Chief government negotiator Miriam Ferrer said this at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the decommissioning of weapons of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“We want the Mamasapano encounter the last ugly turn in the road to peace,” Ferrer said.

“This (Mamasapano incident) is not the first, but we want it to be the last,” she added.

She lauded the police officers for their sacrifice and service to the nation.

But she admitted there is “more to be done to quell terrorism.”

For his part, MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal extended his sympathies to the kin of the fallen –“those who have fallen in the Mamasapano incident.”

Iqbal also commended the International Monitoring Team for helping stop the incident.

“The Bangsamoro people have suffered a lot as a result of several massacres in the past…The incident in Maguindanao is not intended,” he said.

Iqbal also said the MILF suffered 18 dead and 14 wounded in the Mamasapano incident.

He added the decommissioning of MILF forces is the ultimate sacrifice.

“No amount of obstacle can stop us in pursuit of peace in Mindanao,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ferrer added the MILF is ready to turn over 75 high-powered firearms to an independent decommissioning body.  (MNS)