- Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the return of the Balangiga bells to the country tempered President Rodrigo Duterte’s sentiments against the United States
- He said it was an “irritant” because of its historical value to the Philippines
- Lorenzana noted that the President does not take credit for the bells’ return
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday said that the return of the Balangiga bells tempered the sentiments of President Rodrigo Duterte against the United States.
GMA News quoted Lorenzana saying that the bells are “irritant” because of its historical value to the Philippines especially in Samar.
He noted the situation at the time and the things that led to the bells being of help to the people.
The Defense Secretary added that Duterte does not take credit for the bells’ return; saying it was due to decades of tireless efforts by groups and individuals in both countries.
“The President does not take credit for it. He knows it is caused by the effort of both countries,” Lorenzana said.
The bells were returned to the Philippines last year; more than a century after the U.S. troops seized it as a trophy in their winning against the Philippines years ago.
Two of the bells were brought then to the F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyo., while the third was with the U.S. Army in South Korea.
U.S. Ambasaddor to the Philippines Sung Kim said, “Good hearted individuals and groups labored for decades to bring the bells home.
“Former presidents, Cabinet secretaries, Philippine and US ambassadors, historians, philanthropists and many others worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the history of the bells and to advocate for their dignified return.”
The Catholic Church, meanwhile, expressed that the return of the bells to the Philippines is a gift of healing and reconciliation amid the unfortunate events surrounding its story.
Samar Bishop Crispin Varquez reportedly said, “After years of waiting and uncertainty, this season of Advent, the season of waiting, is yielding us an early Christmas gift—the return of the bells of Balangiga. They are being brought back during the season of hope and peace.”