Balangiga bells’ return ‘sign of US respect for PH alliance’
The Department of National Defense (DND) on Monday said the return of the Balangiga bells to the country after 117 years was a sign of the United States’ “respect” for and commitment to its alliance with the Philippines.
The iconic bells, a war booty taken by the US Army from a church in Balangiga, Easter Samar, during the Filipino-American war in 1901, will be turned over by US Embassy officials on Tuesday at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.
President going to Balangiga
President Rodrigo Duterte is skipping the ceremony in Pasay but will instead go to Balangiga on Dec. 15 to turn over the bells to the town’s officials, according to presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo.
Panelo said the President made the decision on the recommendation of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
“The return of the bells is not only an act of goodwill from our treaty partner, but more so, a symbol of respect. It is a laudable historic moment, and a milestone in Philippine-US relations that will mark a promising future between our countries,” the DND said in a statement.
Lorenzana earlier described the gesture as a “closure” to a war that marred the otherwise long history of alliance between the two countries. —Reports from Jaymee T. Gamil, Julie M. Aurelio and Christine O. Avendaño
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