Balangiga Bells to return to Eastern Samar Dec. 14

MANILA The Balangiga Bells will finally go home to its parish on Friday, the Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson said Thursday.

In a statement forwarded to reporters, Arsenio Andolong said the bells will depart from Villamor Air Base, Pasay City aboard a Philippine Air Force (PAF) C-130 cargo plane for Guiuan, Eastern Samar at about 6 a.m. Friday.

It is expected to arrive in its destination by 8:30 a.m., Andolong added.

Upon landing at Guiuan, Eastern Samar, the bells will be transported via land to Balangiga, which will last approximately two hours.

The DND spokesperson said the formal transfer of the bells to the parish of Balangiga will be led by President Rodrigo Duterte and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Borongan Bishop Crispin Vasquez, in behalf of the Diocese of Borongan, will receive the bells from the DND.

Among the guests to witness the transfer are US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Yong Kim and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles.

Last December 11, the US Department of Defense turned over the bells to the Philippines, culminating the decades-long return process involving numerous initiatives and negotiations between the two governments.

Two of these bells were housed for more than a century at the Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming, while the other was kept at Camp Red Cloud in South Korea.

The bells were seized and declared as war trophies by US troops in the aftermath of the Balangiga Massacre on September 28, 1901.

The Balangiga bells were at the crux of the struggle of the people of Samar during the war at the turn of the 20th century.

Lorenzana said after more than a century, the return of the bells to the Philippines from the United States now symbolizes the two countries' shared histories and ideals, new beginnings, renewed friendships and a stronger brotherhood. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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