PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte was conferred the Knight Grand Cross of Rizal Rank (KGCR) on Thursday evening, February 23, the highest award ceremonial given by the Knights of Rizal (KR), for his relentless effort to push for the shift to federal form of government.

Anchored on a theme, "The Philippines after a Hundred Years in relation to Federalism", which was started by Rizal, is being continued by the President who has given his all-out support for its promotion and passage.

The conferment of the KGCR was led by the Knights of Rizal Supreme Commander former Chief Justice Reynato Puno during the 21st International Assembly and Conference held at the SMX Convention Center, SM Lanang Premier, Davao City.

Speaking to some 500 participants, Duterte said that he was humbled by the recognition.

"Your conferment upon me today of the Knight Grand Cross of Rizal, the highest degree which the Knights of Rizal could gift any person with, is truly humbling. I must confess, however, that I suffer a sense of inadequacy knowing that I stand before 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," Duterte said.

He expressed his hope that he could give justice to the award that KR has bestowed upon him.

Duterte also reiterated his call to shift to federalism and urged the members of KR to step up a move to advance the federal form of government that is seen to push the progress of the country as it is one of the aspirations of the national hero, Jose Rizal.

"For now, we do not need to discuss what these advantages are. That will follow later. Frankly, I hope to see the Knights of Rizal in the forefront of the campaign to shift to the federal type of government," he said.

"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 1989 and 1890," the president said.