CBCP thanks Duterte for efforts in bringing back Balangiga bells: We express our profound gratitude to Pres. Duterte - The Daily Sentry

Tuesday, December 11, 2018



CBCP thanks Duterte for efforts in bringing back Balangiga bells: We express our profound gratitude to Pres. Duterte



President Rodrigo Duterte | Photo from Google Plus
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has expressed its gratitude to the government and President Rodrigo Duterte for their vigorous efforts in reacquiring the Balangiga bells.

Reclaiming

“We express our profound gratitude to the Philippine government for its years of vigorous efforts to reclaim these bells," CBCP president Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles said in a statement.

"We thank in particular our present government, with the leadership of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, for bringing a most successful and happy conclusion to all these efforts,” he added.


Duterte himself demanded for the return of the Church's priceless religious treasures explaining in his 2017 State of the Nation Address that they form part of the country's patrimony and they were taken from a church in Balangiga, Eastern Samar at the expense of the lives of thousands of Filipinos.

Archbishop Romulo Valle | President Rodrigo Duterte | Photo from CNN

Archbishop Valles also expressed their appreciation to the government of United States for their very wise gesture in returning the bells in the country.

“We also appreciate the very wise gesture of the US government in finally bringing back the Bells of Balangiga to where they should belong, thereby giving ourselves the experience of a deeper sense of justice and respect between our peoples and consequently letting our friendship grow stronger,” he said.

Historic

The three bells arrived at the Villamor Air Base coming from an American military base in Okinawa, Japan. Two of these came from Wyoming, where the U.S. government formally turned them over in a ceremony led by Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel "Babe" Romualdez and U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis last November 15. The third bell was located in a U.S. military museum in South Korea.

Valles also opines that the return of the religious Church bells - a priceless treasure of the Catholic church.

Balangiga Bells | Photo from Eagle News

“The return of these three Church bells, which, for the Catholic Church, are priceless religious treasures used for generations to call Her faithful to prayer and worship, affords us an opportunity to understand and appreciate history better with a more mature perspective,” Valles said.

“It also demonstrates that the path to healing and reconciliation may be arduous but is never impossible,” he added.

“We join Bishop Crispin Varquez and all our brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Borongan, especially those in the Parish of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr, in thanking and glorifying God, for He has, once again, done marvelous deeds in our midst today,” said Valles.

Successful efforts

After 117 years, the US government will finally return the historic bells to its original home in Samar. The three bells arrived at the Villamor Air Base coming from an American military base in Okinawa, Japan.

American soldiers posing with a Balangiga bell in Calbayog, Samar in April 1902. | Photo from Philstar
Duterte had previously showed cautiously optimistic about the possibility that the Balangiga bells will be returned to the Philippines more than a century after they were seized by American troops during the war between the two countries.

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Source: Manila Bulletin