MANILA — The scheduled return of the Balangiga Bells to the people of Eastern Samar is of immense significance.
This was disclosed by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo in a message to reporters Sunday.
“Noting that those bells were made instruments in defense of the community at that point in our history, it is therefore an icon of nationalism, patriotism, and personal sacrificed in the pursuit of freedom. And its return to the people of Eastern Samar, especially at this time of the year, is of immense significance,” Arevalo added.
The Balangiga Bells will be received by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana during ceremonies at Villamor Air Base, Pasay City on Tuesday (Dec. 11).
“The bells will be (tolling) again this Christmas,” Arevalo added.
In a separate statement, the Department of National Defense (DND) said the return of the Balangiga Bells, 117 years after these were seized and declared as war trophies by American soldiers, signifies the long-standing relationship between the Philippines and the United States.
“The return of the bells signifies the long-standing relations between the Philippines and the United States, one that is based on acknowledging our shared histories as former adversaries in peace and eventually, as close allies working together to safeguard our common interest,” it added.
The return of the bells will also catalyze historical healing for both the Philippines and the US and will serve as closure for both countries of a painful chapter in the past that was a grim consequence of war, the DND added.
“To the people of Balangiga, the bells are an important and historical and religious heritage and icons of our nation’s patrimony. They symbolize faith and hope for the Filipino people,” it stressed. PNA-NORTHBOUNDASIA.COM