Solon to US: PH wants Balangiga bells, not bombs for Marawi
Bring the Balangiga bells back to the Philippines, not bombs, a progressive lawmaker said on Wednesday amid reports that the United States was planning to conduct airstrikes against extremists in Marawi City.
“We want the bells not the bombs!” Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said in a statement. “The US has yet to return the Balangiga bells and other war booties they took from our country as well apologize for the atrocities they committed during the Philippine American War and now they have the gall to say that they are going to launch airstrikes against parts of our country?”
“This is the height of callousness and should be condemned,” Zarate added.
Quoting defense officials, NBC News earlier reported that the US was planning to conduct drone airstrikes against Islamic State-inspired fighters in Marawi City.
Zarate said that such move would “blatantly trample” the Philippines’ national sovereignty and signal the “commission of blatant human rights violations.”
The lawmaker instead urged his colleagues at the House of Representatives to fast-track House Resolution No. 412, which calls on the US to return the Balangiga bells and other war booties to the Philippines to “assert independence and sovereignty from foreign intervention.”
In his second State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte called on the US government to return the historic Balangiga bells, which was taken by American troops after the brutal slaughter of an entire village in Balangiga, Samar during the Philippine-American War in 1901.
US Ambassador Sung Kim assured the Philippine government that the US “would like to return all three bells as soon as possible.” /atm
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