The Knights of Rizal conferred the highest honor it gives to an individual on President Rodrigo Duterte in a simple ceremony on Thursday night at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City.
The Knight Grand Cross of Rizal Rank was bestowed on Duterte by former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, the supreme commander of the Knights of Rizal, during the 21st international convention of the knighthood.
The Chief Executive was honored for his “unprecedented victory as President and restoring people’s faith in government.”
In his acceptance speech, Duterte described the recognition as “humbling.”
“Your conferment upon me today of the Knight Grand Cross of Rizal, the highest degree the Knights of Rizal could give any person with, is truly humbling,” he said.
“I must confess, however, that I suffer a sense of inadequacy knowing that I stand before an assemblage of men who are so fused with patriotic fervor, deeply imbued with Dr. Jose Rizal’s ideals and visions, and dedicated to the diffusion of his writings and teachings,” he added.
Duterte said he hoped to give justice the honor given to him by carrying out reforms in government and effecting real change in the country.
He noted that it would be good to revisit the writings and undertakings of the country’s national hero Dr. Jose Rizal saying that his life was “a heroic struggle to dignify the Filipino people.”
Duterte reiterated his plan to shift to a federal type of government saying that it was Rizal who first saw the merits and the advantages of such system of government.
“To say that Dr. Jose Rizal was ahead of his time is no empty statement. For instance, my administration has proposed to shift from a governmental structure to a federal system. But it is really nothing new for in this the Filipinas Dentro de Cien Años, ‘The Philippines a Century Hence,’ published at La Solidaridad circa 1889 and 1890,” he said adding that he wishes to see the Knights of Rizal to support his campaign.
The President then urged the people to “reexamine” the thoughts, aspirations and visions of Jose Rizal for the country saying that his wisdom continues to be relevant to the nation in present time.
“You can be a Rizal, I can be Rizal in our own modest ways and within the limits of our competence and capacities. We can all be Rizals,” he ended.###PND