MANILA — The United States Ambassador to the Philippines has promised on Tuesday to return the three church bells taken by the American forces a century ago.
Ambassador Sung Kim said the two governments have deliberated the return of the Balangiga Bells, named after the village where they were taken.
“The United States is deeply committed to return the bells to the Filipino people,” Sung Kim said. But he could not tell when that would happen.
Filipinos view the Balangiga bells as symbols of the long struggle for independence. They were used to give signal in the early 1900s for Filipino rebels to attack the American soldiers staying in the village after the US took custody of the Philippines after the Spanish-American War.
Last July, in the second State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte, there was a call for the US government to give back the bells. Duterte further said that the bells belonged to the Philippines and are part of the Filipinos’ national heritage.
“Give us back those Balangiga bells. They are ours… Isauli naman ninyo. Masakit yun sa amin,” Duterte emphasized.