Philippine Daily Inquirer - - NEWS - By Philip C. Tubeza @pc­tubeza­INQ

Mala­cañang on Sun­day wel­comed the state­ment of the Amer­i­can am­bas­sador to the Philippines that the US gov­ern­ment was try­ing to get an “early res­o­lu­tion” for the re­turn of three church bells that Amer­i­can sol­diers took as “war booty” from Sa­mar prov­ince more than a cen­tury ago.

Pres­i­den­tial spokesper­son Ernesto Abella said the gov­ern­ment would work closely with the Amer­i­cans for the even­tual re­turn of the Balangiga bells, which the US Army took from a church in Balangiga, Eastern Sa­mar, in 1901.

“We wel­come US Am­bas­sador Sung Kim’s re­marks on try­ing ‘to reach an early res­olu- tion on the Balangiga bells,’” Abella said.

“The Balangiga bells, as the Pres­i­dent men­tioned, are an im­por­tant part of our na­tional her­itage,” he said.

In his sec­ond State of the Na­tion Ad­dress be­fore Congress, Pres­i­dent Duterte called on the United States to re­turn the bells, not­ing that Amer­i­can troops had mas­sa­cred Filipinos in Balanginga dur­ing the Philip­pine-Amer­i­can War in 1901.

“That’s why I say to­day, ‘Give us back those Balangiga bells. They be­long to the Philippines. They are part of our na­tional her­itage,’” Mr. Duterte said.

On July 27, Kim said the US gov­ern­ment knew that the bells were “very im­por­tant” to the Filipino peo­ple.

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