A few tried, but it is only President Rodrigo R. Duterte who succeeded in bringing the Balangiga bells back to the Philippines, Presidential Communications and Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar said on Tuesday.
Andanar made this remark following reports that the bells taken from the Balangiga Church in Samar would soon be returned to the Philippines.
Andanar hailed Duterte’s “unorthodox skill” for convincing the US government to finally deliver the church bells to the Philippines.
“His immeasurable respect and appreciation of our history and unmatched unorthodox skill in communicating our nation’s interest made it possible for the Bells of Balangiga to be returned to the Philippines,” Andanar said in a Facebook status.
“Mabuhay ka President Rodrigo Roa Duterte! You have ushered in a new vibrant chapter to Philippine-US Relations,” he added.
The Committee on Historical Research of National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) said a ceremony would be held on Nov. 15 at the Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming for the repatriation of the Balangiga bells.
One of the three bells is displayed at the 9th Infantry Regiment in Camp Cloud in South Korea, while the other two are in the former base of the 11th Infantry Regiment at the FE Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
The church bells were taken by US troops from the Balangiga Church in Samar as war booty following the “Balangiga Massacre” in 1901. (PNA)