Balangiga bells expected to begin journey to the Philippines after Nov. 14

Photo via philstar.com

By JP SORIANO/GMA News – The Balangiga bells seized by American soldiers as war booty in the 1900s and are currently placed in Wyoming, United States are expected to begin their journey back to the Philippines after a military ceremony on November 14.

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez told GMA News that he will meet US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Wyoming to attend the event.

An announcement will be made on Wednesday, Nov. 14 (Manila time) on the exact arrival date of the bells in the Philippines and other details about the ceremony.

“I will be in Wyoming with Secretary Mattis (Defense Secretary Jim Mattis) on November 14. We will have official release after that formal event,” said Romualdez.

US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis had previously notified US Congress that the department plans to return the Bells of Balangiga to the Philippines.

In 1901, US soldiers killed thousands of Filipinos, including women and children, in the town of Balangiga in Eastern Samar in response to the killing of 48 US soldiers by rebels during the war between the two countries.

Historical accounts said one of the bells was used to signal the surprise attack by Filipino fighters against American soldiers.

Despite decades of close ties between the two countries and a tight military alliance, the United States’ refusal to return the bells has long been a bone of contention, raised strongly by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Two of the bells are at the Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, while the third is part of a traveling museum and is reportedly at a US base in South Korea.

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