WHAT WENT BEFORE: Returning the Balangiga bells
Since the Ramos administration in the 1990s, the Philippine government, Senate and the Catholic Church have been asking the US government to return the bells.
In 1998, 46 of the 60 members of the House of Representatives and 18 of 30 senators in the Wyoming State Legislature signed an informal joint resolution recommending a plan to replicate the two relics at F.E. Warren Air Force Base so that both Balangiga and Wyoming could have one authentic and one replica bell each.
But the plan fell through due to strong opposition from Wyoming veterans.
Two resolutions were filed in the US Congress in 2005 and 2006 urging the US president to authorize the return of the bells to the Philippines, but the measures fizzled out.
A month before another appeal by then Vice President Jejomar Binay in June 2012, then Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead wrote then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, stating his opposition to the return of the bells to the Philippines.
In his second State of the Nation Address in July 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte called on the US government to return the bells to the Philippines.
Days later, US Ambassador Sung Kim assured the Philippines that the United States “would like to return all three bells as soon as possible.” —Marielle Medina and Ana Roa / INQUIRER RESEARCH
SOURCE: INQUIRER ARCHIVES
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