Teddyboy Locsin Jr: 'Mission accomplished! Duterte got Balangiga bells for the Filipino people' - The Daily Sentry

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Teddyboy Locsin Jr: 'Mission accomplished! Duterte got Balangiga bells for the Filipino people'

DFA Secretary Teddyboy Locsin Jr. and the Balangiga bells / Compiled photo from Google and UNTV

Manila, Philippines – Once again, President Rodrigo Duterte proves that he has a strong political will when the United States returned the Balangiga bells back to its origin.

On December 11, the Filipinos witnessed the home coming of the historical bells from Samar after 117 years since it was taken by the American soldiers as war loots in 1901.

The president’s ‘passionate’ appeal

During the second State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Duterte, he strongly appealed to the US government to give back what should belong to the Filipinos.

Even Ambassador to the US Sung Kim acknowledged the passionate appeal of the Philippine president which he said was “loud and clear.”

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has also given credit to the president for pushing for the return of the Balangiga bells to the Philippines.

‘Mission accomplished’

In a tweet, Locsin cited it was “mission accomplished” after the bells were successfully handed over by the US officials on Tuesday.

“There you go, so now there is no message other than “’mission accomplished.’ He said he wanted them back and he’s gotten them back for the Filipino people,” Locsin tweeted.

“Thank you Henry Howard, Hank Hendrickson, Nikki Haley on the American side and the Filipinos who kept alive the issue,” the Foreign Affairs chief added

Change of mind, Duterte to attend bellsturnover

After the initial announce of the Palace that the president would not be able to attend the turnover of the Balangiga bells to Eastern Samar on Saturday, the chief executive appears to have changed his mind hours after.*

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte eventually decided to attend the turnover ceremony of the historic church bells "due to the persistent requests from the people of Eastern Samar."

"The president has made changes in his schedule of activities to join the Filipino community in welcoming the return of the bells," Panelo said in a statement.

The right thing to do

For the US, returning the bells was "the right thing to do," the American envoy said in his speech during the ceremony.

"The United States could restore to its friend and ally an important symbol of national independence and demonstrate our commitment to a relationship of two sovereign nations, two equal partners, and mutual respect," Ambassador Kim also said.

The three bells will be returned to its original home at the Church of San Lorenzo de Martir in Balangiga, Eastern Samar.

Meanwhile, replicas of the bells will be created as a memorial at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Philippine military personnel unload one of the three Balangiga church bells after it arrived from the US at a military airbase in Manila on Dec. 11, 2018 / photo from Philstar