“Let us be reasonable and open our eyes, especially you women, because you are the first to influence the consciousness of men.”

(Letter to the young women of Malolos, 22nd February 1889, London – Dr Jose P Rizal)

By Jinky Marsh

The Kababaihang Rizalista Inc. (KRI) has recently expanded its reach with the establishment of the Sydney Chapter, the first in the Australia-New Zealand-Oceana Region. Induction of its board of trustees and founding members was held at the Bulwagang Rizal, Philippine Consulate General Sydney on the 16th September 2018 in the presence of Honorable Consul General Maria Teresa L.Taguiang.

KRI is a counterpart organisation of the Knights of Rizal (KoR), a civic organisation incorporated under the Corporation Law of the Philippines in the year 1916 by patriotic citizens for the main purpose of promoting the teachings and ideals of the Philippine national hero, Dr Jose Rizal (Republic Act 646).

The ceremony was moderated and mastered by KRI Sydney Secretary Lady Violi Calvert with KRI Sydney Chapter Assistant Secretary Lady Jinky Marsh leading the singing of the Philippine National Anthem. This was followed by the invocation of Lady Melanie Diano, KRI Adviser-Philippines/Sydney Consul.

The Sydney Chapter inaugural board of trustees and founding members were welcomed by ANZO Deputy Regional Commander Sir Maximiliano Lopez. Each member was introduced by Sir Danilo Peralta, KCR Eastern Australia Ara Commander and concurrent KoR Sydney Chapter Commander and inducted by Honorable Maria Teresa L.Taguiang.

Kababaihang Rizal, Inc. induction
(L-R seated) Ms Marideth Laquian, Ms Aileen Labiga, Ms Violi Calvert, Ms Judith Del Prado, Consul General Maria Teresa Taguiang, Ms Michelle Baltazar, President of Kababaihang Rizalista, Inc. Consul Melanie Diano, Adviser Philippines, Blacktown Councilor Carol Israel, Ms Jinky Marsh. (L-R standing) Mr Miguel Castro, Mr Max Lopex, Knights of Rizal (KOR), Ms Marilyn Mendez, Blacktown Councilor Linda Santos, Adviser Australia, Ms. Theresa Pacubas, Ms. Daisy Cummings, Mr Danny Peralta, KOR Eastern Australia Area Commander and Sydney-Chapter Commander, Ms Josephine Guintu, Ms Desiree Lamont, Ms Florita Rontikis, Ms Lita Saludo, Ms Lourdes Kaiser, Ms Emily Rudd, Mr Peter Rudd-KOR, Mr Fiel Santos-KOR. (Photo courtesy of Mr Bob Reyes)

Inaugural Message was delivered by the KRI Sydney Chapter President Lady Michelle Baltazar followed by the votes of thanks and appreciations by KRI Sydney Chapter Vice-President Lady Judith del Prado.

Classical musical artist Miguel Castro serenaded the KRI members and guests with songs inspired by another Philippine hero Andres Bonifacio and Crisostomo Ibarra, main character figure in the musical Noli Me Tangere.

KoR Australia-New Zealand-Oceana Regional Commander Cesar Bartolome has sent his apologies to the event as he was in attendance to another highly important meeting of the Filipino Australian Movement for Empowerment Inc. where he is the incumbent Executive Director.

KRI was conceptualised in 1950 by then KoR Supreme Commander, Sir Juan F. Nakpil, KGCR with Dr Sixto Y Orosa as committee chairman and convenor. It was founded in September 1958 by Dr Severina Luna Orosa with Dr Encarnacion Alzona as the First President. KRI was registered with the Securities Exchange Commission the following year in April 1959. The organisation celebrates its 60th founding anniversary this year with Lady Bernadita S. Lizardo as the current National President.

“It’s 2018 and we decided here in Australia amongst the community of Filipino women to form an organisation with a bit of legacy and continuity to it. KRI Sydney will be focusing on women’s rights, equal rights and education which are the two premises of the original Kababaihang Rizalista many many years ago. We are not starting from scratch as there are already a lot of events related to Rizal and Rizaliana. We are going to review and assess which projects activities we can formulate and execute in terms of the interests of the members and officers which may be in music, literature or studying Rizal’s teachings,” Lady President Michelle Baltazar explained.

KRI has chapters in Asia (HK) Germany (Bonn, Berlin-Brandenburg, Cologne, Hamburg and Wilhelmsfeld-Heicielbera), Canada (Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver), USA (Arizona, Chicago, Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey, Texas, Houston and Las Vegas), and the rest of Europe (Beausoleil and Paris in France, Brussels in Belgium, Modena and Cagliari in Italy and Cote d’ Azur in Monaco).

Photo by: Bob Reyes

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