Sir Reynato Puno, KGCR
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 assembly was visited by more then 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 Hon. consul 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 Comander 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. 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:
Sir Olaf baron van Boetzelaer, KOR
“Dr. Jose Rizal’s life and work : a gift to his country and to the world! Of course a gift to his country. 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. He has travelled the world. He studied in Spain where he got his licentiate in medicine and his degree in philosophy and letters.
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 Anthrological Society. He has lived here in Brussels and his famous book El Filibusterismo was printed in Gent. As an extraordinary linguist he mastered more than 20 languages and could speak at least 8. 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 loosing 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 August2015, is an important step in that direction.
The theme of this assembly is “KOR Europe in solidarity of Rizal’s vision”.
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”.
Also part of the event was the elevation to Officer in the Order of Knights of Rizal of – amongst others – Sir Olaf baron van Boetzelaer, KR and Sir Steef Klarenbeek, KR, respectively pursuivant and exchequer of The Hague Chapter. Earlier Mr. Jos van Dijk was dubbed a knight. All this -uniquely – by the visting supreme commander Sir Reynato Puno, KGCR who led the official ceremonies of the three days assisted by members of the supreme council and knights residing in Belgium. The official ceremonies ended by the awarding of the Regional Commander Sir Antonio Guansing, KGOR with the Grand Cross of the Order of the Knights of Rizal for his longtime honorably serving the Order.
From: Munting Nayon