MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III is open to amending the Philippine's Constitution to reach an elusive peace settlement with Moro rebels during his six-year term, an official said Monday.

Aquino's strong popularity could help him win support for an accord with the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front, in contrast to the Malaysian-brokered talks under his unpopular predecessor that collapsed in 2008, government negotiator Marvic Leonen said.

Leonen said the Aquino administration is willing to launch new attempts to amend the 1987 constitution if it is crucial to forging lasting peace with the rebels.

"The level of confidence is high," Leonen told foreign correspondents in a news conference, adding that the President was sincere in reaching out to the rebels who have been fighting for minority Moro self-rule for decades.

"A hand extended in peace is a hundred times stronger and a million times more courageous than one that picks up a gun," Leonen said.

Leonen said the government wants to resume negotiations with the rebels when the holy Muslim month of Ramadan ends in September. He said a truce has been holding, with only 10 skirmishes recorded so far this year. (AP)