Palace: Return of Balangiga bells shows US a ‘true friend’ of the Philippines
MANILA, Philippines — The return of the Balangiga bells to Manila on Tuesday shows that the United States is a “true friend” of the Philippines, Malacañang said.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the return of the bells, taken by the Americans as war trophies during the Philippine-American War, “is historic and unprecedented.”
“This marks an important milestone in and gives new meaning to the shared history between the Philippines and the United States,” Panelo said in a statement late Monday night.
“Stakeholders from both the Philippines and the United States worked tirelessly for the return of the Balangiga bells,” he added.
The bells will arrive at the Villamor Airbase on Tuesday but President Rodrigo Duterte will skip the handover ceremony.
Panelo said the President will instead be present during the handover of the Balangiga bells on December 15 in Eastern Samar.
With the return of the bells, the Palace official said the US “will be remembered as true friends of the Philippines and of Filipino heritage.”
President Duterte first made the call for the United States to return the bells back to Balangiga Church in Eastern Samar during his second State of the Nation Address (Sona) in 2017. /muf
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