The first National Heroes’ Day was observed at a time of uncertainty – during the American occupation, and a full decade before the start of the Second World War. Enacted by a legislature that held freedom and independence close to their hearts, the first National Heroes’ Day was a call to heroism as much as it honored the heroes who have devoted their lives to the nation’s just cause.

This call to heroism continues to resonate today as we respond to the challenges of the times. Here in the Bangsamoro, an ongoing political transition gives us the opportunity to rebuild communities that have been affected by conflict and violence, as we breathe life into a future that realizes our ancestors’ hopes and dreams for our people.  

Every day, we encounter heroes who are continuously working to uplift our communities in a bid to push our nation forward – a task made more daunting by an ongoing pandemic, a looming climate crisis, and socioeconomic conditions that are at the root of inequality and injustice. Every day, we are called upon to carry the weight of the struggle that has shaped our history, to learn from heroes whose lives have shaped our communities, and to honor the legacy that continues to define a nation that is home to us all.

And every day, we are called to be heroes ourselves – to act in accordance with the values that shaped our lives and our history, to share the truths of our people in a way that honors the sacrifice of our ancestors, and to build a legacy that future generations can inherit with integrity and pride. May our heroism be defined not just by a mere moment, but by a consistent and collective effort to build and rebuild in service of the people.