In his recent second state of the nation address, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called on the US government to return the Bells of Balangiga.
They were taken as spoils of war by US colonial troops, after they massacred an entire Samar town in 1901.
The Philippine government has made efforts in the last few decades to get the bells back.
“We are aware that the bells of Balangiga have deep significance for a number of people, both in the US and in the Philippines. We will continue to work with our Filipino partners to find a resolution,” said Molly Koscina, press attache for the US embassy in Manila, in a statement.
One of the church bells is now in possession of the 9th infantry regiment at Camp Cloud in South Korea, while the other two are in a former base of the 11th infantry regiment at F.E. Warren Air Force base in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
The Philippine consulate in San Francisco — which has jurisdiction over Wyoming — has yet to confirm further instructions from the Duterte government.
Logan Clarke, president of the committee for the return of the bells, has renewed hope that the both governments would finally come to an agreement, and have the bells returned 116 years after they were taken from Balangiga.
Clarke joins BA via Skype from CA to talk about this development, and the bells’ historical and cultural significance.