On 21 January 2019, the people of the Bangsamoro first cast their vote in a plebiscite that eventually ratified the Bangsamoro Organic Law, signifying our collective will in support of just and lasting peace. The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), established soonafter the plebiscite, is a result of more than two-decades of negotiations between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the national government.

A year later, the BARMM passed the Bangsamoro Administrative Code which marks Jan. 21 as the Bangsamoro Foundation Day, “in recognition of the dreams and aspiration of the people to chart their social, political, cultural and economic destiny in exercise of their right to self-determination.”

As we celebrate the founding anniversary of the BARMM today, we also commemorate the centuries of struggle that continues to be sustained by the collective efforts of the Bangsamoro people towards just and lasting peace in our homeland. 

This year’s theme for the BARMM’s founding anniversary is also a challenge to the regional government: to change people’s lives and transform the Bangsamoro as we celebrate and sustain the gains of peace and moral governance in the region. It is a daunting task, made more difficult by an unforeseen pandemic that continues to this day. While COVID-19 has changed the landscape for everyone – our health and safety constantly at risk – we continue to exert every effort in ensuring that we sufficiently respond to the most urgent and pressing needs of our people.

In the past three years , the BARMM regional government has remained decisive in placing the people’s needs and welfare first as it worked on the success of its political transition. Together with the national government, we hope to continue working in the spirit of mutual respect and cooperation as the period of transition continues in the Bangsamoro.