MANILA — Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday said the country will conduct a study to address the Balanggiga bells issue with a goal to return the artifacts to the country.
“Anything that the President says is a priority. Yesterday, I already asked for a study. Some congressmen are volunteering,” he told reporters.
Cayetano was optimistic that the United States (US) government would “work with us towards recovering these and be a good gesture and symbol.”
The US vowed to work with the Philippines to resolve the issue on Balangiga bells, as it recognized their significance for a number of people in the US and in the Philippines.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte, in his second State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA), asked the US to return bells taken by American soldiers as war booty more than a century ago.
During the Philippine-American war in 1901, Filipino freedom fighters from the village of Balangiga defended Samar island from American colonizers, resulting in death of 48 American officers and men, and 28 Filipinos. Leslie Venzon/PNA – northboundasia.com