Pentagon to return bells captured in the Philippines over 100 years ago
The US military intends to return to the Philippines the famed Bells of Balangiga, captured by occupying US troops more than 100 years ago, a US defence official told CNN Tuesday. Manila has long sought the repatriation of the church bells, which were taken by US troops in 1901 during a particularly bloody chapter of the Philippine-American War.
The bells have deep significance for many in the United States and the Philippines. Some members of Congress and veterans’ groups had opposed their return. Some lawmakers still do. The defence official said that no specific date has been identified for the return of the bells, but that the Pentagon is committed to a timely resolution.
In 2017, Congress passed legislation lifting a decade-long ban on returning the bells and the Pentagon consulted with various veterans’ associations, according to the official. Congress was notified of the Pentagon’s intention to return the bells last week. However, the congressional delegation from Wyoming, where two of the bells are located, slammed the decision to return the artifacts. The third bell has been kept on a US military base in South Korea.