In this period of transition for the Bangsamoro, our task is not merely to rebuild but to remember. More than fifty years ago, a massacre violently took the lives of our Moro men and youth as they clamored for more humane and just treatment from the government they pledged to serve. 

The Jabidah Massacre is often referred to as the flashpoint for the Moro revolutionary movement in the Philippines. To the Bangsamoro people, however, it is merely one among a series of atrocities committed against us in an attempt to silence us. Jabidah was merely the first time a national official spoke about such a crime against our people, but it would not be the first time our story would be met with doubt and disbelief.

We continue to face the same marginalization and discrimination that killed the Moro men who lost their lives in Corregidor, and we continue to fight for the same rights they fought for. This is why we must continue to speak with clarity and conviction in behalf of the Bangsamoro people, and why we must act with intent and commitment in the service of our people.

While we now reap our harvest from decades of armed and parliamentary struggle, the regional government’s transition is far from finished and the just and lasting peace we aspire for is far from won. It is our duty to remember their sacrifice, and it is our task to continue their legacy of courage and strength in the face of oppression. As we continue our work on the Bangsamoro’s political transition, let us carry our history of struggle with dignity and honor, and let us serve one another with the same spirit of purpose and sacrifice for the rights and welfare of all.