On 6 January 2024, the Knights of Rizal – Firenze Chapter (www.kor-florence.org) gathered Filipino community leaders across Tuscany at a ceremony to commemorate the 127th Martyrdom of Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal at the Hotel Adler Cavalieri in Florence.
The ceremony started with the singing of the Italian and Philippine national anthems followed by a floral offering. Present at the event were Florence Consular Corps Vice President Sir Guido Bastianelli, KR, OMRI, Count Sir Franco Biagini di Casaletto, KCR, OMRI, both honorary Knights of Rizal. The ceremony was led by the outgoing Knights of Rizal – Firenze Chapter Commander Sir Arman Cruz, KCR and Incoming Firenze Chapter Commander Sir Rob Carrillo, KCR.
The Commemoration of the Martyrdom of Jose Rizal, more commonly known as “Rizal Day” is a Philippine national holiday traditionally celebrated every December 30 and is the anniversary of Jose Rizal’s execution by the Spanish colonial authorities in Manila in 1896. Rizal’s execution is widely seen as the catalyst that led to the Philippines’ independence from Spain resulting in the first constitutional republic in Asia in 1899.
As part of the commemorative event, the Firenze Chapter also held its 2024 General Assembly and commemorated its 10th Anniversary. As part of the proceedings, the new chapter officers for 2023-2025 were sworn in following an election. The following new officers were administered their oath of office by the Chair of the Lower Prefectural Tribunal and Chapter Adviser Sir Dennis Reyes:
- Sir Roberto Carrillo, Commander
- Sir July Sarmiento, Deputy Commander
- Sir Leandro Piñon, Chancellor
- Sir Edilberto Manalo, Pursuivant
- Sir Gil Baldovino, Exchequer
- Sir Mario Cadauan, Archivist
- Sir Carlito Fernando, Auditor
- Sir Francisco Santiso, Deputy Pursuivant
- Sir Moises Malimban, Deputy Exchequer
This was followed by a presentation of the organisation’s work programme for the coming years by Knights of Rizal – Firenze Chapter Commander Sir Rob Carrillo. The chapter’s work will be organised under six programmes, under which, several projects will be run. These include the Ceremonial Programme, Social Action Programme, Research and Public Information Programme, Chapter Expansion Programme and Fundraising Programme.
A few projects that were cited include an initiative that provides free legal assistance, a shorter waitlist for free ears, nose and throat medical consultation and surgery, city-wide cleaning drive, and the set-up of a social action fund for distressed Filipinos and to run community outreach projects in the Philippines. Aside from continuing to organise commemoration ceremonies, the chapter will also continue research projects related to Rizal and the Philippines with specific attention to areas that create new knowledge on links between Filipino and Italian people.