WATCH: Duterte rings historic church bell in Balangiga
BALANGIGA, Eastern Samar—After 117 years merely on display abroad, one of the three Balangiga Bells finally tolled again in this quiet town.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday afternoon rang one of the three bronze bells for the first time since they arrived in the country last Dec. 11.
Balangiga residents cheered as the President tolled the bell several times.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte serves as a witness to the official handover of the Transfer Certificate of the Balangiga Bells from United States Deputy Chief of Mission John Law to Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana of the Philippines in a ceremony at the Balangiga Auditorium in Eastern Samar on December 15, 2018. From DND Secretary Lorenzana, the Transfer Certificate is set to be handed to Balangiga Mayor Randy Graza on behalf of the people of the municipality. President Duterte aired his call on the return of the bells during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) and also took time to join in the 116th Commemoration of the Balangiga Encounter Day at the municipality’s auditorium in Eastern Samar on September 28, 2017.After the encounter that transpired on September 28, 1901, the Balangiga bells were taken by the American troops as ‘war booties’ during the Philippine-American War. For more than a century, the two bells were kept at the F.E. Warren Air Force Base at Cheyenne, Wyoming in the U.S.A., while the smallest bell was at the regimental museum of Camp Red Cloud in Uijeongbu, South Korea. #ComfortableLifeForAll#PartnerForChange#KampanaNgBalangiga
Posted by Radio Television Malacañang – RTVM on Saturday, December 15, 2018
American soldiers took the bells as war trophies after razing villagers in retaliation for a surprise attack in the Balangiga Encounter, which took place on Sept. 28, 1901.
In his speech during the turnover ceremony, the President, who called for the return of the historic bells in 2017, said the “homecoming of these artifacts is truly a milestone in the shared and meaningful history of the United States and the Philippines, and heralds a new and more vibrant chapter in our bilateral relations.”
“More than just a part of the Balangiga Church, these bells are a significant element in our country’s religious and historical narrative. They are an enduring symbol of our history and treasure,” he added. /atm
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