PALACE WELCOMES US ENVOY’S STATEMENT ON RETURN OF BALANGIGA BELLS
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.