Balangiga bells to begin journey home - prominent historian

The Balangiga bells / AP file photo from Sunstar

Manila, Philippines - The three historic  Balangiga bells that were taken by the United States (US) troops in 1901 will finally return to the ciuntry after more than a century.

Rolando Borrinaga, a member of the sub-commission on Cultural Heritage of the National Committee on Historical Research, confirmed that US is slated to hold a ceremony at the Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyyene, Wyoming on November 15 (Manila time) for the repatriation of the two church bells from Eastern Samar.

"This will mark the beginning of the journey of the two Wyoming bells back to the church from which they were taken. The Wyoming bells will now be able to begin their journey home," the prominent Eastern Visayan historian announced Monday, in a Facebook post.

He added that the third bell at a US Army museum in South Korea had been crated weeks ago for its shipment back to the Philippines.

Borinaga, however, noted that no exact date yet has been announced on when the bells would arrive.

"The latest successful campaign for the return of the bells of Balangiga was largely a veterans-to-veterans effort," he said.

"So many in the US veterans community have let their voices be known and lent their support -- including National Resolutions of support from both the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion," Borinaga added

The Balangiga bells were taken by American troops in 1901 as war booty after slaying the town's people.

President Rodrigo Duterte, in his second State of the Nation Address in 2017, also asked the US government to return the Balangiga bells to the Filipinos.

Following the good news, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the Palace welcomes the plan of the US to return the bells to the Philippine government.

"We welcome any movement towards the return of the bells of Balangiga to the Philippines," the Palace official said in a statement issued on Tuesday, but did not give further comment until its return.

"In the words of the President himself: 'It ain’t here until it’s here,'" he said.

Source: Sunstar

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