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The historic ‘Bells of Balangiga’ will be returned to the Philippines after 117 years.

| November 18, 2018

Balangiga_bells

The decision to return the “Bells of Balangiga” to the Philippines ends a decades-long quest by Manila, including by President Rodrigo Duterte.

As one may recall from historical accounts, the three church bells were taken away by the American colonial forces as spoils of war after they massacred the towns people of Balangiga, Samar in retaliation for previous attack on their occupying soldiers. Thousands of Filipinos were brutally killed during the mop-up operation. There was even a reference to “more than 50,000 death toll” according to American historian Kenneth Ray Young.

Regardless of its return it must always be remembered that the conduct of pacification during that period is summed up in the words of the commanding officer of the Samar campaign General Jacob H. Smith:

“I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn; the more you kill and burn, the better it will please me… The interior of Samar must be made a howling wilderness.”

The American colonizers executed this order by killing all boys over 10 years old and burning down villages and crops.

In his second State of the Nation address, Pres. Duterte said, “those bells are reminders of the gallantry and heroism of our forebears who resisted the American colonizers and sacrificed their lives in the process.

“They are ours. They belong to the Philippines. They are part of our national heritage.”

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