We celebrate our independence because it is hard-won.

The freedoms we now enjoy are freedoms that our people fought for, and these are the same freedoms we must continue to fight for as we continue to assert our right to self-determination. As we commemorate this day, we must also remember that our collective struggle does not end with a declaration of independence; rather, it carries over to the days that follow as we fight to keep what is rightfully ours. 

Fifteen years after the Philippines’ independence was declared, in June 1913, hundreds died in the Battle of Bud Bagsak as Moros resisted colonizers that threatened their independence and freedom. Today, we remember the Moros who have fought for the freedoms we continue to protect, and we honor their memory through our constant assertion of rights that are yet to be fulfilled.

Let us live up to the true meaning and essence of Independence Day by living a life that honors our people’s courage and sacrifice, and that fulfills our people’s highest aspirations for the future.