ANGELES CITY – Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan on Thursday lauded the members of the Knights of Rizal (KOR), including businessman Reghis Romero II of this city, for their genuine love for the country.

Pamintuan joined the KOR Central Luzon chapter led by Fr. Sonny Pahed and Salapungan barangay captain and KOR international treasurer Rey Malig when they distributed slippers and notebooks to students of the Salapungan Elementary School here.

"I admire Jose Rizal because he is well-known not just in the country but even in other places such as in Europe," said Pamintuan, who recently toured Brussels, Belguim as one of the most outstanding mayors in the world. He added that the KOR members "are not just down-to-earth but manifest love for country."

The "Tsinelas at Kwaderno ni Pepe" project was done one day before the 154th birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal on June 19. Rizal's classmates called him Pepe.

Malig disclosed that Oscar Dejelo of the KOR Cleveland, USA Chapter gave $1,000 for the project. He added that 850 slippers and 1,500 notebooks were purchased benefiting at least 1,000 elementary students.

In his speech at the Order of the Knights of Rizal international headquarters in Intramuros, Manila on Friday, Romero urged his fellow KOR members "not to be indifferent but responsive" for calls to help in nation building.

Romero actively supported Pamintuan's education programs and he also supported the variuos projects of the police in Central Luzon.

In Manila also on Friday, The KOR, which spearheaded the removal of the 49-story building right behind the national hero’s monument at Rizal Park here, called on the youth to actively join in stopping graft and corruption in the country.

KOR Supreme Commander and Ilocos Sur Provincial Board Member Jeremias Singson, who joined Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada during the wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the 154th birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal on June 19, said: “Where are the youth now? They will play a crucial role in our fight against corruption.”

“We have to love our country. We only have one country,” added Singson, who was also a former Ilocos Sur vice governor.

Singson said the construction of the Torre de Manila, a residential and commercial building owned by DMCI Project Developers Inc., should be permanently stopped and must be removed. It was described as an “eyesore” behind the national hero’s most visited and recognizable monument at the park named after him.

“In other countries, they just don’t take care but treasure and cherish cultural heritages and national monuments,” he added.

On June 16, The Supreme Court stopped the construction of the controversial building in an 8-5 vote.

The high court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) “effective immediately until further orders from the court enjoining respondent (DMCI Project Developers Inc.) from continuing with the construction and development of the Torre de Manila condominium project.”

The KOR sought the TRO against the building’s construction on Taft Avenue and asked for its demolition through a petition filed last September. (Joey Pavia/Contributor)