President Rodrigo Duterte called on the United States to return the bells taken by American soldiers from a church in Balangiga, Eastern Samar in 1901 during the Philippine-American War.
“Give us back those Balangiga bells. They are ours. They belong to the Philippines. They are part of our national heritage. Isauli naman ninyo (Return them). Masakit iyon sa amin (It is painful to us),” the President said in his State of the Nation Address on Monday.
American soldiers took the three bells as war booty after the Balangiga massacre. The bells are at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Gen. Jacob Smith ordered soldiers to turn Samar into a “howling wilderness,” after Filipinos killed 48 American soldiers during breakfast on September 28, 1901.
Males over 10 years old were ordered killed and three bells were taken from the town church which was burned.
Last year, the United States returned to the Philippines the San Pedro bell that US troops took from a church in Bauang, La Union in 1901.