Nat’l Museum exec dismayed over ‘hot reaction’ of Church over Balangiga bell transfer

By: - Reporter / @KAguilarINQ
/ 10:55 AM December 14, 2018

MANILA, Philippines —National Museum (NM) director Jeremy Barns has expressed dismay over the “hot reaction” of Church authorities in Samar on the proposal to transfer one of the three Balangiga bells to the museum.

“The hot reaction of the Church authorities in Samar, whom we have been working with for years to rebuild the church in Guiuan since Typhoon Yolanda, is understandable – although much too  strongly  worded  as  to  be  provocative  of  unnecessary  controversy  and  acrimony,” Barns said in a statement on Thursday.


“It  was  sad  to  read  it,  as  it  does  not  accurately  reflect  the  good  relationships  that  exist  between  the  government  cultural  agencies  and  numerous  dioceses  and  parishes  which  we  have  assisted,  expending  considerable  government  resources  and  public  funds  in  the  process,” he added.

The bishop and clergy of the Diocese of Borongan, Samar earlier expressed opposition on the proposal to transfer one of the bells to the National Museum, calling it as “disrespectful mangling of history.”

The statement was in response to the Senate Resolution (SR) No. 965 filed by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri urging the government to lend one of the Balangiga bells to the museum.

Barns also clarified that the National Museum was not involved in Zubiri’s resolution.

“We at the NM were not involved in any way with the resolution that was filed by Senator Zubiri, which we only learned about after the fact – nor in any other initiative, past or present, that might involve bringing any or all of the bells to the National Museum,” Barns said.

Nonetheless, the National Museum director described Zubiri’s intention as “admirable and objectively reasonable.”

Barns thanked Zubiri for his “support and confidence” for regarding the museum as a “public institution  so  highly  as  to  propose  that  we  host  one  Balangiga  bell  for  the  benefit  of  acess  by  the  people  at  large in  the  national  capital.”

The Balangiga bells have been returned to the Philippines last Dec. 11, about 117 years after they were taken by American soldiers as war trophies during the Philippine-American War.  /muf

Related stories:


Prelates: Transfer of Balangiga bells to Nat’l Museum is ‘disrespectful mangling of history’

Zubiri calls Borongan priests ‘arrogant’ over Balangiga bells remark

Town in frenzy over return of Balangiga bells after 117 years

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TAGS: Balangiga bells, Borongan, National Museum, Samar, Senate Resolution 965
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