After 117 years, Balangiga Bells return to the Philippines
MANILA, Philippines — The historic bells of Balangiga have returned to the Philippines, more than a century after they were taken by American soldiers as war trophies in 1901 during the Philippine-American War.
A U.S. C-130 plane which flew the bells from Okinawa, Japan, landed at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on Tuesday morning. It will stay there until it finally heads home to Balangiga, Eastern Samar on Saturday.
U.S. Embassy officials will turn over the bells to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in a simple handover ceremony.
President Rodrigo Duterte and previous governments have worked for the return of the Balangiga bells.
The President had demanded the return of the bells during his State of the Nation Address in July 2017.
Two of the bells were previously installed at a memorial for fallen U.S. troops at a military base Wyoming, while the third was put in display in a U.S. military base in South Korea.
The bells were taken by American forces in September 1901 from a Catholic church in Balangiga, after Filipinos killed 48 out of 74 U.S. soldiers.
As a retaliatory attack, U.S. forces razed the town which killed thousands of Filipinos, in what is known as Balangiga Massacre. The Americans took the bells as war trophies. /muf
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