June 22, 2018

6th European Regional Assembly of Knights of Rizal at Brussels















On the picture, Dutch delegation at the 6th ERA of Knights of Rizal.

By Anton Lutter.

From the 25th to the 27th of august the 6th European Regional Assembly of the Order of the Knights of Rizal – the sole order of knighthood in The Philippines – has taken place in Brussels. The Order of Knights of Rizal was founded in 1911 to to honor and uphold the ideals of Philippine national hero Jose Rizal.

In 1951 it was granted a legislative charter by a law, which signed by president Elpidio Quirino becoming Republic Act 646.

Sitting next to Sir Olaf baron van Boetzelaer is Alan Deniega, charge d’affaires at The Philippines Embassay at Brussels.

The assembly -which theme was the “KOR Europe in solidarity of Rizal’s vision” was visited by more than 200 knights and ladies, from all over Europe: Czech Republic, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom, under the leadership of the European Regional Commander the Honorable cónsul Sir Antonio Guansing, KGOR. But also knights from the United States and Canada attended the assembly.

The guest of honour was without doubt the Supreme Commander of Knights of Rizal and former Chief Justice of The Philippines Sir Reynato Puno, KGCR, who attended with several other members of the Supreme Council from Manila. The Dutch delegation was led by Sir Anton Lutter, KCR, chapter commander of The Hague Chapter. The first day commenced at The Philippines Embassy in Brussels hosted by the chargé d’affaires Alan L. Deniega.

As guest speaker of the evening Sir Olaf baron van Boetzelaer, KR held a very interesting speech titled Dr. Jose Rizal : A Philippine Patriot who knew Europe. Some excerpts:As the intellectual patriot he was, he stays as a beacon of light to his countryman: then, now and for the generations to come. But what strikes, this patriot, with the Philippines never out of his mind was also a cosmopolitan“.

Sir Reynato Puno, KGCR.

We can say, here in our European assembly that he knew different European countries. He worked in Paris and was also a member of the Berlin Anthropological Society. He has lived here in Brussels and his famous book El Filibusterismo was printed in Gent. Dr. Rizal was driven by universal ethical values: succinctly: human dignity at home and if possible also abroad. Therefore he belongs to the Pantheon of great men – and women – of our world who want to further human dignity, human rights, without naiveté.

As said, he visited studied and worked in several European countries. We can say he “knew” parts of our continent. He had contacts, friendship even, with European scholars. An outstanding example of course was his friendship and exchange of ideas with the German scholar Dr. Ferdinand Blumentritt. What has all this to say to us, in our present time? Well, his example as an outward looking patriot and at the same time as a fatherland loving internationalist is still relevant and inspiring, especially in our world where on the one hand people are sometimes afraid of losing their national or regional identity and traditions and where on the other hand, we witness more and more globalization.

Both aspects should be complementary not contradictory. Dr. Rizal always saw his fatherland as part of the global world, the family of nations. In this aspect he is also inspiring in 2017, now that The Philippines has the chair of ASEAN. The “homo universalis” he was, would have seen with a benign eye the contacts and cooperation between the European Union and ASEAN.

Regarding the status of the EU-ASEAN relations, I can quote the then High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Baroness Ashton, who stated: “The EU wants to be an active and constructive player in Asian regionalism. “The appointment of an EU Ambassador to ASEAN in August 2015, is an important step in that direction”. Van Boetzelaer concluded “Well, look to us here today. Dr. Rizal still brings nations and people together: brothers and knights from so many European nations, in brotherly solidarity. Also an example for international relations. And we all have also a special bonding with the country where it originated: The Philippines”.

The second day found important speeches by the Rev. Fr. Paul John Camiring, chaplain at SHAPE (NATO), titled “Knights of Rizal Europe in Solidarity with Rizal’s Vision” and the keynote speech from the Supreme Commander which was on Federalism in The Philippines.The ceremonial part of the assembly consisted of the dubbing and elevation to higher ranks as well as awarding individuals for outstanding services rendered.

Sir Olaf an Boetzelaer, KR between Sir Dominiek Segaert, KGOR and Sir
Lino Paras, KGCR.

From The Netherlands elevated to Officer in the Order of Knights of Rizal were Sir Olaf baron van Boetzelaer, KR and Sir Steef Klarenbeek, KR, respectively pursuivant and exchequer of The Hague Chapter.

The visting supreme commander Sir Reynato Puno, KGCR led the official ceremonies of the three days assisted by members of the supreme council and Masters of Ceremony Sir Dominiek Segaert, KGOR and Sir Lino Paras, KGCR, who flawlessly led as through the three days of confraternity.

Rev. Fr. Paul John Camiring.

The official ceremonies of the day ended by the awarding of the Regional Commander Sir Antonio Guansing, KGOR with the well deserved Grand Cross of the Order of the Knights of Rizal for his longtime honorably serving the Order.

A galadinner ended the evening, while the closing of the assembly – next day – by the supreme commander was preceded by a Thanksgiving Mass at the Saint Mary Mother of God Church, presided by the Rev. Father Jorgedy Bago, Chaplain of Seafarers and of the Filipino Community in Antwerp.

Sir Antonio Guansing, KGCR with Supreme Council members.


Photography by A. Lutter.

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