Hopefully the soonest the better.
In his second State of the Nation Address last July, President Rodrigo Duterte just resurrected the long time eagerness of the nation to get back one of its national treasures which is now located in a foreign land. He made everybody hear him loud and clear, saying :
|file photo (photo credit to owner)|
"Give us back those Balangiga bells. They are ours. They belong to the Philippines. They are part of our national heritage,."
And since July there is more than hope that this wish will come into fruition.
Ambassador to the United States Babe Romualdez is very much optimistic that the historical “Balangiga bells will soon be coming home in the country, this after the ambassador talked to Defense Secretary of the United States of America James Mattis wherein he assured President Rodrigo Duterte that he will do everything in his capacity to bring back the war artifacts.
During the meeting of Mattis and Duterte at an event in Pampanga, the envoy said the latter requested the US official to help Manila in retrieving the bells, given it has "sentimental value" to the Filipino people.
According to Ambassador Romualdez, Mattis gave a response assuring the chief executive "he will do what he can".
With the favorable reply, the envoy said the bells' return is certain should come a time that the authorization necessary would come from the defense secretary.
"Ang maganda rin doon, yung defense secretary siyempre siya ang namamahala sa Armed Forces ng US, baka dumating ang araw na siya lang ang kailangang mag-authorize na isoli na sa atin yung mga bells," he said.
"For me, I am confident that we'll get it back in a couple of years, no not years, I think sooner than later," he said. "(It would be) within our lifetime, but I think sooner than later since (talks) are already there."
"Ang latest na information na na-receive ko, yung law which prohibits the bringing of articles of war, memorabilia ng war medyo nag-expire na, so mayroon tayong mga kaibigang Amerikano na tumutulong sa atin," Romualdez said before he leaves for Washington to assume his role as the Philippine envoy to US.
US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim in July already said America is willing to return all three Balangiga Bells to the Philippines, as both the US and the Philippines are willing to explore a resolution as soonest.
The bells were considered as “war booty” by the American troops , when it was used to in the “Balangiga Massacre” in 1901.
There actually three bells, one bell is 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 F. E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenee, Wyoming.
Report from PNA