Return of Balangiga bells heralds US, PHL bright future as partners, allies – US envoy

“The return of the Bells of Balangiga lets us reflect on the US-Philippine relationship — where we have been, where we are, where we are going. Having now served over two years as U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, I am convinced that our relationship remains ironclad, consecrated by the service and sacrifice of the Americans and Filipinos who fought side by side for freedom,” U.S Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim said during the arrival ceremony of Balangiga Bells at Villamor Air Base.

The arrival ceremony was attended by Executive Secretary Medialdea, National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez, US Indo-Pacific Command Admiral Philip Davidson, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Felter.

“Our shared history is enduring and deeply personal. Our relationship has withstood the tests of history and flourishes today. And every day our relationship is further strengthened by our unbreakable alliance, robust economic partnership, and deep people-to-people ties,” Kim added.

“On behalf of the United States, it is my great honor to be here at this closing of a painful chapter in our history,” he added.

“The Bells’ return reflects the strong bonds and mutual respect between our nations and our peoples. It demonstrates our determination to honor the past and the sacrifices made together by Filipinos and Americans. And it heralds our bright future as friends, partners, and allies,” he said.

“Since President Ramos first raised the issue of the bells with President Clinton in 1993, virtually every Philippine president has pressed for the Bells’ return. As the video we just watched reminds us, President Duterte made a forceful appeal for the Bells’ return during his 2017 State of the Nation address. I was there and heard his passionate call loud and clear,” he said.

“President Duterte followed up with a personal appeal to our Secretary of Defense James Mattis who, like all of us here, recognized that returning the Bells is the right thing to do and that, by returning the bells, 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,” he added.