Our independence is our great inheritance. It is passed on from one generation to another not as a gift but as a responsibility. The rights and freedoms we currently enjoy are not borne of privilege but are a constant struggle, especially for communities that continue to bear the brunt of marginalization and discrimination.

The people of the Bangsamoro are among these communities. While we have won greater autonomy for a region that we call home, we continue to face injustices due to deeply rooted ignorance and indifference in our country. These injustices are only magnified by the ongoing pandemic, as resources run scarce and opportunities remain low.

As we commemorate this year’s Independence Day, let us also remember that the spirit of this day is anchored on centuries of struggle. Thousands of our brave men, women, and children lived and survived years of conflict and uncertainty, with the hopes of building a future where just and lasting peace is a reality.

We now live in a free nation, but we remain shackled by poverty and grief. The price we pay for our independence is vigilance, and we must not let our guard down as we continue to work towards equality and justice for all. May we honor our prized inheritance as we live up to the courage and faith of our ancestors, and continue the struggle for the independence that our people have always won — one that is rightfully ours.

Happy Independence Day!