The US ambassador to the Philippines has backed calls for the return of the Balangiga bells.
Speaking as we speak (Tuesday, September 5) ambassador Sung Kim mentioned Washington remained dedicated to returning artefacts seized throughout the Filipino-American warfare.
The Philippine authorities has for many years for the return of the bells, however Washington has all the time remained non-committal.
In his state of the nation handle in July, President Duterte raised the problem of the bells saying: “Give us back those Balangiga bells. Because they are ours. They belong to the Philippines. They are part of our national heritage. Please return it. That is painful for us.”
Ambassador Kim mentioned that there have been “issues” within the US that wanted to be resolved earlier than the bells could possibly be returned.
“It’s difficult for me to predict the exact time. But I assure you that we are committed to making sure that the bells are returned to the Filipino people. I hope that we will be able to see some progress in the not too distant future,” he added.
a“I believe it’s the right thing to do and I really do hope that we will be able to return the bells soon.”
He added that there was “an ongoing effort” and “an ongoing discussion within the US government and the Philippine government to try and facilitate the return of these bells as quickly as possible”.
One of the three church bells is at a US base in South Korea, whereas two others are at a base in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Balangiga bells signalled bloodbath
It is alleged the bells have been rung to sign a shock assault on American troopers in Samar in 1901. The assault, referred to as the Balangiga Massacre, claimed the lives of 48 US troopers.
In reprisal, General Jacob Smith ordered that Samar be changed into a “howling wilderness”. He additionally ordered that any Filipino aged above ten and able to bearing arms be shot.
Ambassador Kim acknowledged that the bells have been “emotionally and historically important” for the Filipino folks.