MANILA The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Tuesday welcomed the return of the Balangiga Bells to the country after more than 100 years.
With this, Archbishop Romulo Valles, CBCP president expressed gratitude to both the Philippine and United States governments for bringing back the bells to its rightful place.
With this, we express our profound gratitude to the Philippine Government for its years of vigorous efforts to reclaim these bells. We thank in particular our present government, with the leadership of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, for bringing a most successful and happy conclusion to all these efforts, Valles said in a statement.
We also appreciate the very wise gesture of the US Government in finally bringing back the Bells of Balangiga to where they should belong, thereby giving ourselves the experience of a deeper sense of justice and respect between our peoples and consequently letting our friendship grow stronger, the Davao archbishop added.
He noted that the return of the three bells to the country is a good news since it would be returned to the Diocese of Borongan.
It is with great joy and deepest gratitude that we, in the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), receive the good news that, after 117 years, the three Bells of Balangiga shall now be returned to their rightful place in the Parish of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr, of the Diocese of Borongan, in the town of Balangiga, Eastern Samar, Valles said.
The return of these three Church bells, which, for the Catholic Church, are priceless religious treasures used for generations to call Her faithful to prayer and worship, affords us an opportunity to understand and appreciate history better with a more mature perspective. It also demonstrates that the path to healing and reconciliation may be arduous but is never impossible, he furthered.
At the same time, Valles also join members of the clergy under the Borongan Diocese in thanking God for the blessings.
Finally, we join Bishop Crispin Varquez and all our brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Borongan, especially those in the Parish of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr, in thanking and glorifying God, for He has, once again, done marvelous deeds in our midst today, he added.
On Tuesday, the Balangiga Bells arrived at the Villamor Air Base, Pasay City from a US military base in Okinawa, Japan.
President Rodrigo Duterte will lead the program for the hand over of the three bells to Balangiga town officials on Saturday. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency