US starts process to return Balangiga Bells to PH

MANILA The United States on Thursday (Manila time) will officially start the transfer process of the Balangiga Bells to the Philippines during a ceremony in Wyoming to mark its return to the Philippines.

According to the US Department of Defense, Secretary James Mattis will be traveling on Thursday to Texas and Wyoming, with a last stop at the Francis E. Warren Air Force Base.

"The secretary will attend a ceremony marking the beginning of the process to return of the Bells of Balangiga to the Philippines," it said in a statement Wednesday.

The bells were taken as war booty by US troops following the Balanginga Massacre in 1901.

One of the Balangiga bells are displayed at the 9th Infantry Regiment at Camp Cloud in South Korea while the other two are in the former base of the 11th Infantry Regiment at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base.

Mattis notified the US Congress on Aug. 9 that the Department of Defense intends to return the war artifacts to Manila.

"The decision follows a year-long consultative process with associated veterans' organizations and government officials to ensure appropriate steps are taken to preserve the history of the veterans associated with the bells," Molly Koscina, press attache to the US Embassy in Manila told the Philippine News Agency on Tuesday night.

"The Bells of Balangiga have deep significance for many people in the United States and the Philippines," she added. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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