Palace welcomes US plan to return Balangiga Bells
Malacanang on Sunday welcomed the announcement made by the United States Department of Defense on its plan to return the Balangiga Bells seized by US troops during 1901 Philippine-American War.
“We have been informed of the announcement by the US Department of Defense about the Balangiga Bells,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
“We welcome this development as we look forward to continue working with the United States Government in paving the way for the return of the bells to the Philippines,” he added.
On Saturday, it was reported that US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has notified the US Congress that his department "intends to return the Bells of Balangiga to the Philippines.
"We are aware that the Bells of Balangiga have deep significance for a number of people, both in the United States and in the Philippines," the US embassy said in a statement.
Though still no specific date for the return, the embassy said they “received assurances that the Bells will be returned to the Catholic Church and treated with the respect and honor they deserve.”
During his State of the Nation Address last year, President Rodrigo Duterte asked the United States to return the Balangiga bells.
"The Church bells of Balangiga were seized by the Americans as spoil of war. Those bells are reminders of the gallantry and heroism of our forebears who resisted the American colonizers and sacrificed their lives in the process," he had said.
"That is why I say today; give us back those Balangiga bells. They are ours. They belong to the Philippines. They are part of our national heritage. Return them. It's painful for us," Duterte had said. Ella Dionisio/DMS