Anniversary is always a big day. It’s a special occasion to celebrate success and achievements. 15 years ago – the 19th day of September, the Institute for Autonomy and Governance officially became an organization. An organization whose main thrust is to shape public policy for autonomy and good governance in Southern Philippines.


Indeed, it was 15 very challenging but fruitful years for IAG as we played our role, to achieve our goal in diverse ways, including roundtable discussions, fora, conferences, trainings, capacity building workshops,  learning sessions, mentoring and researches. The Global Autonomy Governance Forum that IAG did in 2016 wherein we brought together around 400 participants from the different parts of the globe showcased the kind and quality of engagements IAG is capable of not only in the regional and national level but internationally. IAG has also produced a good number of publications – Review Journals, Policy papers, Policy Briefs and Monitors. IAG’s website has now become a knowledge center for many academics, the government and civil society. Different stakeholders are also very much informed thru IAG’s social media pages – Facebook and Twitter.


The past 15 years wouldn't have been truly a success for IAG had it not been for the support and partnerships of different international donor organizations. Today, as we celebrate our 15th anniversary, I would like to share IAG’s success and thank them all.


Thank you to Konrad Adenauer Stiftung who has been IAG’s institutional partner since we started. We are also celebrating this year our 15th year of partnership with them. Konrad Adenauer supports the annual Kusog Mindanaw Conference. IAG also extends its gratitude to the Australian Government thru its Australian AID for the continuous support. It was in 2008 when we first collaborated with AusAID for our Security Sector Reform Program with the Philippine Army and Philippine Marines. That partnership has continued until now where IAG is part of the Australian Partnership for Peace program wherein we were able to do the ProPolitics for Peace and EnPold Bangsamoro projects. These projects promoted political dialogues among the LGUs and other stakeholders.  The Australian Government was also the major sponsor of the IAG 2016 Global Autonomy and Governance Forum. The European Union is also a constant supporter of IAG. EU with KAS started it’s partnership with IAG in 2013 thru IPDEV – a project to empower the Indigenous Peoples in the ARMM. The partnership continued with DEPADEV and DELACSE for the development of political parties and empowerment of civil society organizations. Thank you also to the Spanish Government thru the AECID who is supporting the Modeling Inter-LGU Alliance in Western Basilan which is now on its second phase. Thank you UNDP for supporting the learning sessions on the BOL in the Philippine House of Representatives and Senate. Thank you also UNICEF for supporting the indigenous youth and children program and social inclusion research. Thank you United States Institute for Peace for the many collaborations. The UN Habitat for the Urban Safety research IAG did. The World Bank for the Support Reform Coalitions project. The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue for the research on youth vulnerability to violent extremism, the International Republican Institute and the Management Systems International for the researches on violent extremism, GCERF, International IDEA, International Alert Philippines, the Palladium Global Philippines thru Pathways, Plan International and our newest partner, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and the Government of United Kingdom.


IAG was also able to bring its programs to the policy makers in the national arena in partnership with different national government institutions. IAG extends its sincere gratitude to the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Department of Agriculture, the Office on Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, the Commission on Elections, the Department of National Defense, The Armed Forces of the Philippines – Philippine Army, Philippine Marines and Pilippine Navy, the national Commission on Indigenous Peoples, The National Defense College of the Philippines and most especially the House of Representatives thru the Congressional Planning and Budget Office and the Senate of the Philippines thru the Senate Economic Planning Office. I would also like to specially thank our partners in the Cordillera Administrative Region thru NEDA CAR Chair Dr. Mila Rimando. We also thank our partner institutions in the National level – the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy, the Local Government Development Foundation, the Ateneo Policy Center/Ateneo School of Government, Philippine Political Science Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research.


In the past 15 years, IAG was able to expand its local network in the different parts of the region and across the whole Mindanao. We owe this to our local partners of the different programs we have implemented. IAG also extends its gratitude to the leaders of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the now Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Notre Dame University, MINDA, the past and present governors of the Provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Jolo, Tawitawi and Basilan, the Notre Dame of Jolo College, the Ateneo de Zambonga University, Zamboanga Basilan Development Alliance thru the leadership of Fr, Angel Calvo, Balay Mindanaw headed by Mr. Kaloy Manlupig, Initiatives for International Dialogue headed by Mr. Gus Miclat, Al Qalam Institute of MP Mus Lidasan, the then TACDRUP and CDPI thru Mr. Lito Lorenzana, Institute of Bangsamoro Studies, Bangsamoro Women Service Center, Organization of Teduray and Lambangian Conference, the Kadtuntaya Foundation and Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, the United Bangsamoro Justice Party and the more than 100 civil society groups who are now in our network.


We also thank our pool of consultants and researchers, our resource persons and speakers both local and international, writers, facilitators, documenters, the media who has been covering our activities and all those who have been involved in the implementation of all our programs and projects. Maraming maraming salamat po sa inyo.


IAG is not only an organization, it is a family. We wouldn’t have gone this far without the dedicated service of all our staff. We sincerely appreciate their efforts, talents and dedication in the service of the Bangsamoro and other stakeholders for IAG.


I would like to end this message of thanks to applaud two admirable persons behind IAG. Fr. Eliseo Jun Mercado, IAG’s Senior Policy Adviser for his continuous guidance and support. His expertise in the field of peace and development and Muslim Mindanao has always been an invaluable resource to everything that we do at IAG. And of course, our incredible Founder and Executive Director, Atty. Benedicto Bacani, whose expertise on Regional Autonomy, passion to serve and advocate and great leadership brought IAG to where it is now.


Thank you, Shukran, Maraming maraming maraming salamat po.


Happy 15th Anniversary IAG! Cheers to more years and Mabuhay ka!