Malacañang welcomes ‘movement’ of Balangiga Bells back to PH
Malacañang on Tuesday welcomed the latest development on the imminent return of the historic Balangiga Bells to the Philippines.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the statement after the bells were reportedly set to sail back home in the country after a military ceremony this week in Wyoming, United States.
“We welcome any movement towards the return of the the Bells of Balangiga to the Philippines,” Panelo said in a statement.
“The President himself, in his second State of the Nation Address (Sona), expressed his desire for the return of these bells explaining that they form part of our country’s patrimony and they were taken at the cost of bloodshed of thousands of Filipinos,” he added.
The three bells—two in the Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming and one in a US military facility in South Korea—were taken from Balangiga, Eastern Samar in 1901 as war trophies.
They have been subjects of a campaign for repatriation for more than 20 years.
Panelo, however, said the Palace would not further comment until the bells are delivered home.
“Given that the possession of the bells have not yet been turned over to the Philippine government, we are withholding any further comment on the matter until the last bell has been properly delivered to the country,” Panelo said.
“In the words of the President himself: ‘It ain’t here until it’s here’,” he added.
In August, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis signed documents favoring the return of the bells to the Philippines.
President Duterte, during his 2017 Sona, called for the return of the bells taken during the Philippine-American war. /cbb