It has been 124 years since the martyrdom of the Philippine National hero, Dr Jose P Rizal happened. All those years and despite restrictions caused by COVID 19 pandemic, Filipinos around the globe commemorated this historic event on December 30.
In Sydney, the Philippine Consulate General led by Consul General Hon. Ezzedin Tago undertook a virtual wreath-laying ceremony in Sentro Rizal. The event which was participated in by the Consular officials and staff was undertaken and livestreamed at 10am through the social media pages of the Philippine Consulate and Sentro Rizal Sydney.
In his message, Consul General Tago paid tribute to Dr Rizal's service to the Filipino people and humanity. He said:
"Today we commemorate the 124th death anniversary of our national hero Dr Jose Rizal. It is actually befitting that he was a medical doctor especially in this year that we experience significant challenges in our life.
"I hope that as we commemorate this event, we remember not only his sacrifices but also of our frontliners, the modern day heroes not just here in Australia but all Filipinos around the world. We are glad that there is a vaccine now being rolled out in the UK, the USA and soon all the world. We hope that the year 2021 will be healthier and safer year for the world."
The other commemorative events were as follows:
8.30am Ibero Plaza Central
Hosted by: Sydney Chapter, Knights of Rizal
1.00pm Ashfield Park
Hosted by: Western Sydney Chapter, Knights of Rizal
12noon Rizal Park, Rosemeadow
Hosted by: Rizal Park Movement of Campbelltown
3pm Rizal Park, Rooty Hill
Hosted by: Northern Sydney Chapter, Knights of Rizal
Aside from the various messages in the events hosted by the KOR, the ceremonies also featured Rizaliana Sharing and the Re-dedication where the KORs recited the Rizalian Pledge with their Fraternal Sign:
"In fraternal union with my brother knights, I pledge lifetime devotion to the ideals of the Order of the Knights of Rizal and the teachings of the national hero, who so gave his life that the tenets of justice, freedom, chivalry, human dignity and love of country, which I make my own, will not perish from the hearts of men. So help me God."
In addition to the Knights of Rizal leading the various events, the Kababaihang Rizalista Inc, Sydney Chapter also paid homage to Rizal's martyrdom. Lady Michelle Baltazar and Lady Marilie Bomediano attended the event at Ibero Plaza Central. She also joined Lady Violi Calvert at the event in Ashfield Park, where Lady Violi delivered an address on behalf of KRI.
Lady Violi Calvert congratulated the Knights of Rizal for the various initiatives undertaken to propagate the teaching of Dr Rizal. She spoke in Filipino in parts of her talk, saying:
"Sa pamamagitan ng mga iba't ibang proyekto at pagdiriwan na isinasagawa ng KOR at sinasamahan ng mga ibang pulungan katulad ng Kababaihan Rizalista Inc, at ating napapanatili at napagpayaman ang mga itinuro at idiolohiyo ni Gat Rizal."
Lady Lourdes Kaiser represented KRI in the event in Rosemeadow. The KRI officers who attended the ceremony in the Rizal Park in Rooty included Councillor Linda Santos, Councillor Carol Israel (also representing the Mayor of Blacktown), Lady Judith Prado and Lady Michelle.
Consul Mel Diano, KRI adviser, gave a welcome message at the Ibero Plaza ceremonies.
Meanwhile, Lady Judith, Lady Marideth Laquian, Lady Aileen Labiga and Lady Tess Pacubas attended the small Covid-compliant affair hosted by the Knights of Rizal at Pabico restaurant.