Hontiveros: Duterte can’t take sole credit for Balangiga bells’ return
Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros said it would be “wrong and insensitive” for the administration of President Duterte to claim sole credit on the return of the Balangiga bells to the country as it was the collective effort of many people that paved the way for its return.
Hontiveros insisted that it was the public’s “strong sense of history and justice” that led to the return of the bells, not the “so-called” independent foreign policy of the President.
“It would be wrong and insensitive for the Duterte administration to claim sole credit for the return of the bells and insist that this was the result of its so-called independent foreign policy,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“It was the people’s strong sense of history and justice that led to the return of the bells not President Rodrigo Duterte’s defeatist foreign policy which has only managed to surrender our sovereignty and territory in the West Philippine Sea,” she added.
The senator said that it is through “collective and untiring effort” of past presidents, foreign affairs officials, Catholic Church leaders, historians, Filipino-Americans and different non-government organizations that made the return of the bells possible.
Hontiveros noted that the return of the historic bells serves as a reminder of past atrocities and the martyrdom of the country’s heroes, noting that the bell last tolled during the Filipinos’ fight against foreign rule.
She added that he hopes that the bells would toll again in support of democracy and against an aspiring tyrant, under whose rule the country was plagued by killings and human rights abuses.
“With the return of the bells, it is my hope that they will toll once again, this time in support of democracy and against an aspiring tyrant who has turned the entire country into a “modern howling wilderness” marked by unabated killings and human rights abuses,” she said.
The historic Balangiga bells arrived in the country on Tuesday morning. The three bells arrived at Villamor Air Base, coming from an American military base in Okinawa, Japan.
The bells were returned to the Philippines after 117 years. /muf
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