The Knights of Rizal (KoR) continues to expand in the Australian New Zealand and Oceania (ANZO) region. The Northern Sydney Chapter was the latest to be chartered recently.

On 18 August 2019, knighting ceremonies of the Northern Sydney Chapter and Western Sydney Chapter were held at the Beatrice Taylor Hall in Hornsby Shire in the presence of Honorable Consul General Aian Caringal of the Philippine Embassy in Canberra, Australia as Guest of Honor.

The ceremonies were moderated and mastered by Sir Bing Rana, Knight Grand Officer of Rizal (KGOR) – Past Regional Commander of the ANZO region.

Lady Jinky Marsh of Kababaihang Rizalista Inc. (KRI) Sydney Chapter Assistant Secretary led the singing of both the Philippine and Australian National Anthems. This was followed by an invocation by Sir Ralph Posadas, Knight Commander of Rizal (KCR) – Regional Pursuivant of ANZO Region and Pledge of Allegiance led and recited by Sir Jeffrey Mendoza, Knight Officer of Rizal (KOR) –  Sydney Chapter Exchequer.

Sir Danilo Danny Peralta, Knight Grand Officer of Rizal (KGOR), Area Commander of the Eastern Australia ANZO Region and concurrent Commander of Sydney Chapter delivered the Welcome Remarks followed by a message from ConGen Caringal.

The Knight rituals were officiated by Sir Cesar Bartolome, Knight Grand Officer of Rizal (KGOR) – ANZO Regional Commander. These included the knighting of the members of the Northern Sydney Chapter and additional member of the Western Sydney Chapter (First Degree, Knight of Rizal – KR); Elevation to Second Degree, Knight Officer of Rizal – KOR of Sir Peter Rudd, KR; and Exaltation to Third Degree, Knight Commander of Rizal (KCR) of Sir Bob Alipalo, KOR.

KoR Sydney Chapter Historian Sir Floro Quibuyen, KCR/PhD was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal who sent his apology for not being present to attend to family matters. Sir Peralta accepted the award on Sir Quibuyen’s behalf.

Prior to the KoR Northern Sydney Chapter charter presentation and Induction of the Board of Trustees by the Honourable Consul General Caringal, the song “Bayan Ko” rendered by Lady Jinky ignited the fervour and patriotism of attendees during the intermission. 

Sir Alipalo gave his inaugural message and unveiled the official banner of the Chapter with Sir Peralta as the host chapter.

Chapter’s Pursuivant Sir Rado Andaya Gatchalian celebrated his birthday on the day of the event and gave his inspiring impromptu speech expressing his gratitude of being part of the inaugural board of the Northern Sydney Chapter and earnest desire to promote the ideals of Rizal. 

The Chapter’s Deputy Commander Sir Eddie Irinco, KR rendered his vote of thanks and appreciation to all.

Deputy Mayor of Hornsby Shire Mr Vince del Gallego also gave his warm and welcoming message for the Knights of Rizal followed by the re-affirmation of  Dr Jose Rizal’s youth empowerment by one of the honoured guests from Sokka Gakkai Organization, Mr Hans Van der Bent (Oceania Region Deputy Director).

Mr der Bent cited Rizal as a recognised model for all youth at their Sokka Gakkai headquarter in Japan and encouraged peace and promoted education. He also mentioned that in their two campuses of Sokka Gakkai Universities; one in USA and the other in Japan, there is the statue of Dr Jose P. Rizal installed at the two University campuses.

Sir Bartolome closed the ceremony with his fraternal message, rededication and sign.

The event was also attended by some of the members of the KoR counterpart organisation, Kababaihang Rizalista Inc. Sydney Chapter led by its president Lady Michelle Baltazar, Blacktown Councilor Lady Linda Geronimo Santos (adviser of the KRI Inc.), and families of the Knights of Rizal.

The Philippine Times (PT) is pleased to share the insights of Sir Cesar Bartolome (CB), Sir Danny Peralta (DP), and Sir Bob Alipalo (BA) on the event as follows:    

PT: What is the vision, mission or long-term goal/s of Knights of Rizal Australia-New Zealand Region?

CB: The Knights of Rizal in the ANZO Region (Australia, New Zealand and Oceania) being a part of an “international” organization adopts and adheres to the Order’s Mission and Vision as stated below:

Mission:
To inculcate and propagate the teachings of the national hero not only to Filipinos but to foreign nationals as well, to promote the spirit of Rizalianvirtues, patriotism and internationalism and engage in the youth development, educational, charitable, social and cultural endeavours.

Vision:
To propagate Rizalian thoughts, teachings and works to the end that people regardless of race, creed and religion may emulate them for the benefit of humankind.

Long Term Goals – ANZO Region:
As for the long term goals of the KOR in the ANZO Region, it has been my personal goal since I assumed the helm of the Sydney Chapter in 2012 when there exist only one Knights of Rizal Chapter in Australia (The Sydney Chapter) to work in the establishment of chapters and the expansion of membership and at the same time working for the advancement in rank of the individual knights.  

This goal is in line with the main mission of the Order which I believe can be done effectively if not efficiently by reaching out to as many places and people who may find the Rizalian virtues and advocacies as the perfect vehicle into achieving the development, peace, and harmony among people of all nations.

The Northern Sydney Chapter that was inaugurated yesterday, the 18th of August 2019 is the 7th Chapter that exists now in the ANZO Region.

I am proud to say that 5 of those were chartered with my full support whilst in my capacity as Chapter Commander of Sydney Chapter in 2012-2014, Area Commander of Eastern Australia in 2014-2016 and two-term ANZO Regional Commander from 2016-2018 then 2018 until the end of my term in September of 2020. Also, during this period, the ANZO Region was successful in establishing the first-ever women counterpart of the Order, the Kababaihang Rizalista Inc (KRI) in Sydney.

Outside of the Region, Sir Danny Peralta, KGOR, the incumbent Area Commander for Eastern Australia and myself were instrumental in the chartering of two KOR Chapters in the province of Bataan, Philippines.

The long term goal that I have started shall continue and I will endeavour to establish the Southern Sydney Chapter before my term as Regional Commander ends after which I will fully support the creation of KOR Chapters in the state and territories like Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide.

PT: What is the significance of the formation of Knights of Rizal Northern Sydney Chapter?

DP: …By creating more chapters, the Knights of Rizal would be able to engage and accomplish the missions mandated within our by-laws and constitution. We envisioned to create more chapters in the future and being the area commander has specific tasks to assist the regional commander to do this expansion of creating more chapters within the ANZO Region.

So far we have three areas within the ANZO Region namely: Area 1 (Eastern Australia) which I am the nominated Area Commander; Area 2 (Western Australia) being led by Sir Rod Alido, KCR as the Area Commander and Area 3 (New Zealand and Oceania) being led by Sir Gary Jesus Domingo, KGOR as the Area Commander and also the current Ambassador to New Zealand. We will pursue the creation of more chapters within the Eastern Australia area namely; Southern Sydney Chapter; Brisbane Chapter, Melbourne Chapter and Tasmania Chapter which is under my jurisdictions.”

PT: What is the platform or policy declared by the Northern Sydney Chapter? What type of projects will the new chapter implement for the growing Filipino-Australian community in the Upper North Shore area?

BA: “We have just planted the ‘seed’ of the KOR Northern Sydney Chapter. We need time to grow mentally and emotionally by knowing who Rizal is. When the roots of knowledge and belief are firmly established we can embark in a lasting project. I strongly believe that we have to first change ourselves before we can change others. 

As the leader of the chapter, my primary objectives are to teach, mentor and educate all members. When their awareness is heightened and has gained roots; only then we can become confident and become visible to carry out tangible projects of importance and meaning to the community. In simple terms “we need to learn how to walk first before we can run”. 

I will carry out the following in this order:

1. to instil Rizalian principles among chapter members by learning more about Rizal. Introducing continuous education program; learn important historical significance e.g. the two novels of Rizal (Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo) its influence in the revolution; the beginning and end of Spanish dominion in the Philippines;

2. leadership workshop and personal development – a fusion of modern modalities and Rizalian values;

3. social organization Rizal led like the La Liga Filipina its objectives and rationale behind it; and

4. to create and establish worthwhile community projects as deemed necessary.”

OMNIS MORIAR (Not Everything in Us will Die).

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