THE United States embassy assured the Philippine government that it would work on finding a solution on the issue involving the Balangiga bells of Eastern Samar, which President Rodrigo Duterte has been wanting to get back from the US and which the chief executive mentioned again in his second State of the National Address (SONA) Monday.
“Give us back those. They are ours. They belong to the Philippines. They are part of our national heritage,” Duterte said in his SONA.
The US embassy, in a statement, said it was aware of the Bells of Balangiga and its importance to the people in the Philippines and US.
“We are aware that the Bells of Balangiga have deep significance for a number of people, both in the United States and in the Philippines,” the embassy said in a statement.
“We will continue to work with our Filipino partners to find a resolution,” it added.
The bells are currently housed at the F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
The bells were part of the American soldiers’ “prize” after retaliating against the Filipinos who attacked a US garrison posted in the town of Balangiga in 1901. History says that at least one of the bells had tolled to signal the Filipinos’ assault that claimed the lives of over 40 US soldiers. In a reprisal, the US army killed every male over the age of 10 years old and took the bells. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA