Former Governor Ben Cayetano To Receive Dr. Jose P. Rizal Award For Peace And Social Justice

by Jun Colmenares

The Knights of Rizal-Aloha Chapter is proud to announce that former Hawaii governor, Benjamin J. Cayetano, has been selected to receive the Dr. Jose P. Rizal Award for Peace and Social Justice during the award gala on Sunday, March 6, 2022, at the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu.

He will also be conferred an honorary Knights of Rizal third degree medal with the rank of Knight Commander of Rizal.

The Dr. Jose P. Rizal Award for Peace and Social Justice was instituted in 2011 and is given annually by the Knights of Rizal in Hawaii to celebrate Rizal’s life and to honor his memory and his achievements. It is awarded to a person who exemplifies the ideals and teachings of the Philippines’ foremost hero. Dr. Jose Rizal was a polymath and excelled in many fields.

Rizal  is known for his literary works, his keen scientific mind, his devotion to an educated citizenry, his vision of an ideal community, but most of all, for his dedication to and struggles for peace, freedom, and social justice.

Past awardees include Dr. Belinda Aquino, the late Dr. Jorge Camara, Dr. Amefil Agbayani, Dr. Ramon Sy, Eng. Anacleto Alcantra, Dr. Charlie Sonido, Beatrice Ramos-Razon, Dr. Mark Silliman, and Justice Simeon Acoba, Jr. Gov. Cayetano will be the tenth Rizal awardee.

Cayetano, who prefers to be called “Ben”, is the first and, so far, the only Filipino American governor in the United States. Born and raised in Honolulu, Ben grew up in Kalihi and was raised by his father.

After graduating from Farrington High School, he obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science from University of California in Los Angeles. He received his law degree from Loyola University Law School in 1971, while working his way through school as a draftsman on the Apollo spacecraft project.

He began his career in government in 1972 when he was appointed to the Hawaii Housing Authority by then Governor Burns. He then served for more than two decades in public office, winning eight elections. He served in the Hawaii House of Representatives from 1974 to 1978, in the Hawaii State Senate from 1979 to 1986, as lieutenant governor from 1986 to 1994 and as governor for two terms, from 1994 to 2002.

The event will also feature Dr. Vina Lanzona, associate professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, as guest speaker, who will talk on the topic: Rizal’s Ideas on Peace and Social Justice, as well as the awarding of Distinguished Service Medals and Life Membership Awards to deserving members of the Knights of Rizal-Aloha Chapter.

Tickets to the award gala are available at $60 per person. Sponsorships and advertisement opportunities are also available.

For more information, please contact Jun Suela at 808-228-0665 or, Rodgie Mark Bucsit at 808-542-3196 or, Eric Barsatan at 808-783-8591 or, or Jun Colmenares at 808-838-9775 or

The Knights of Rizal is a global, non-profit, civic organization that was established in Manila in 1911 and subsequently chartered by law under Republic Act 646 in 1951.

Its purpose is to spread the ideals and teachings of Dr. Jose P. Rizal especially among the youth who Rizal considered as the “fair hope of the Fatherland.”

Buoyed by its lofty universal principles, the Order has spread not only in the Philippines but to other countries as well.

At present, there are over 20,000 members and hundreds of chapters in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, Britain, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Czech Republic, and other parts of Asia. In Hawaii, there are two Knights of Rizal chapters: the Hawaii Chapter and the Aloha Chapter.

The Aloha Chapter was established in 2019. Among its officers and members are distinguished members of the community, Filipinos as well as non-Filipinos.

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