Sir Reghis: Malaysia’s Ibrahim worthy of Rizal Pro Patria
Sir Reghis Romero II emphasized that the conferment of the Rizal Pro Patria Award to Malaysian Prime Minister Ibrahim ‘requires strong recommendations from the order’s Prefectural Tribunal and the approval of the Supreme Council’
All for one (from left) Sirs Reghis Romero II, Anwar Ibrahim and Gerardo Calderon — as Knights Grand Cross of Rizal — share a burning passion to propagate the ideals of National Hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal.
Sir Reghis Romero II, a former Supreme Commander and now a member of the Council of Elders of the Order of the Knights of Rizal, on Monday said that Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was most worthy of being bestowed their highest decoration, the Rizal Pro Patria Award.
Romero conferred on Ibrahim the honor during the latter’s state visit to the Philippines last February, during which the Malaysian leader extolled the values and ideals propagated by the Philippines’ National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.
Sir Reghis is now Presidential Special Envoy to Japan.
As early as 1996, the Rizalians already conferred on Anwar, at the time serving as Malaysia’s finance and deputy prime minister, their fifth and highest rank of Knight Grand Cross of Rizal, or KGCR.
“Prime Minister Sir Anwar Ibrahim, KGCR, fully deserves the Rizal Pro Patria Award as it is given only to those who have rendered exemplary and outstanding achievement for the Philippines or for the order,” Sir Romero said.
He emphasized that the conferment “requires strong recommendations from the order’s Prefectural Tribunal and the approval of the Supreme Council.” The phrase “pro patria” translates from Spanish to “for one’s country.”
The Knights of Rizal is an Order of Chivalry granted a legislative charter in 1951 by Republic Act 646, with an avowed goal to propagate the ideals of Rizal, dubbed by Dr. Ferdinand Blumentritt as the “greatest man the Malay race ever produced.”
Also spearheading the conferment rites were the order’s Supreme Commander Sir Gerardo Calderon, Supreme Pursuivant and newly appointed National Historical Commission chair Dr. Emmanuel F. Calairo, and former Supreme Commander Virgilio P. Esguerra.
Ibrahim was conferred the OKOR award signed by Calderon and Calairo to highlight the latter’s advocacy and crusade for accountability in government.
“The saga of his brilliant and enduring leadership speaks well of, not only his political success but more so the triumph of truth in seeing the light of day, which is at the very core of the Rizalian philosophy,” Romero explained.
Ibrahim gained the highest degree of KGCR 26 years in 1996 ago during his attendance at the centennial anniversary of the Philippine Revolution of 1896.
“The only justification for national self-government is the restoration of the dignity of the people. But this ideal will continue to elude us as long as abject poverty, rampant corruption, oligarchs and ‘encomienderos’ remain,” Ibrahim said in his speech then.
“These evils will not be defeated until we liberate ourselves from mental incarceration. Then we can recover our own virtues and be, in the words of Jose Rizal, ‘once freer, like the bird that leaves the cage, like the flower that opens to the air,’” he stressed.
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