Ano ba talaga? Duterte to attend handover of Balangiga bells in Eastern Samar
By Prince Golez
President Rodrigo Duterte has changed mind, saying he will attend the formal turnover ceremony of the Balangiga bells to local officials in Samar on Saturday.
Duterte backtracked on his initial plan to skip the handover of the three bells “due to the persistent requests from the people of Eastern Samar,” spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
“The President has made changes in his schedule of activities to join the Filipino community in welcoming the return of the bells,” Panelo said a few hours after he announced that the President opted not to attend the ceremony because of “pressing matters of governance.”
The three war-trophy church bells, which arrived at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay on Tuesday, were taken by American soldiers from the Church of Balangiga during the Philippine-American war.
“While the President considers his physical presence at the ceremonial turnover an added attraction to the event, he gives more importance to the fact that after 117 years, the Balangiga bells, which symbolize the bravery and patriotism of the Filipinos who refused to be subjugated by a foreign power and shed blood to assert the sovereignty of our country, have been returned to their origins where they properly belong. The bells are now indeed home,” the Palace official said.