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Efforts to return Balangiga Bells lauded

By: Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos

Malacañang welcomed the recent remarks of the United States on the Balangiga Bells, pieces of artifacts which the Palace said are part of the country’s heritage.

This after US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim said that he is hopeful that Washington could soon return the three church bells which were taken by American soldiers from Eastern Samar as war booty more than a century ago.

Despite not giving a timeline, Kim said there is an ongoing discussion between the two governments to try and facilitate the return of the relics as quickly as possible.

“I believe it’s the right thing to do and I really do hope that we will be able to return the bells soon,” Kim said in a press briefing Tuesday.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, Kim’s statement saying returning the bells “is the right thing to do” is a welcome gesture.

“The Philippines has been working for the rightful return of Bala-ngiga bells to the country for many years,” Abella said in a statement Wednesday morning.

President Duterte first made an appeal to the US to return the Balangiga Bells during his two-hour State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) last July, 2017.