Eastern Samar lawmaker files resolution calling for return of Balangiga bells

MANILA-- A lawmaker on Tuesday filed a resolution directing the Philippine government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), to recover the three bells of the Balangiga church, which were seized by the US soldiers during the Philippine-American war in 1901.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone file House Resolution No. 1142 after President Rodrigo Duterte made the same call during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City.

Evardone said it is high time that the Balangiga bells be returned to the people of Eastern Samar to erase the last vestiges of the Philippine-American War, thus further strengthening the bilateral relations of the two countries.

"The people of Eastern Samar, to whom the Balangiga bells rightfully belongs, believe that these bells symbolize the heroism and commitment to freedom of our forefathers and ancestors who fiercely fought the abuses by the US forces at the time," Evardone said in his resolution.

Evardone said the previous Congresses have already passed resolutions calling for the return of the Balangiga bells, and yet the artifacts still remain at the hands of the United States of America.

I say today give us back those Balangiga bells, they are ours, they belong to the Philippines. They are part of our national heritage. Isauli naman ninyo, masakit yun sa amin. (Return those to us, it is painful for us), the President said in his second SONA on Monday.

President Duterte noted those bells were reminders of the gallantry and heroism of a group of Filipino villagers who defended Samar island from American colonizers and sacrificed their lives in the process.

He recalled that the 1901 attack claimed the lives of 48 American officers and men, and 28 Filipinos. It also wounded 22 Filipinos.

Source: Philippine News Agency