Palace: Disowning credit for Balangiga bells return shows Duterte’s ‘humility’
MANILA, Philippines —President Rodrigo Duterte’s remarks disowning credit for the return of the historic Balangiga Bells to the country highlights his “humility,” Malacañang said Friday.
“The recent remarks of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte disowning credit for the successful return of the Balangiga Bells to the country after more than a century outside of Philippine soil highlights the style of the Chief Executive: action-oriented and no-frill public service marked by humility,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
“The President’s statement also shows his sincerity in upholding sovereignty through the use of diplomacy as a leverage to achieve what the country rightly and truly deserves,” he added.
Panelo made the remark after Duterte, in a speech on Thursday, said that the return of the church bells was “upon the demand of the Filipino people” and that “nobody, but nobody, should ever claim success for that.”
The President’s remarks run counter to Panelo’s earlier statement, claiming that the return of the bells after 117 years was due to the “political will” of the President.
It can be recalled that Duterte, during his second State of the Nation Address, called on the US government to return the bells which were taken as war booties during the Philippine-American war.
Panelo also said that many have tried and “it was the President’s call that triggered the series of meetings that finally resulted in, to the coming home of Balangiga bells.”
However, the Palace official noted that “this is not per say, that the (previous) attempts were all futile. To us, it’s just like a ladder. It was steps that finally reached the pedestal.” /muf
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