US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim has given assurances Washington would not allow any spasms regarding the return of the Balangiga bells he said would happen “soon.”
Kim told the ANC’s headstart Monday the US government would be able to move forward with the return of all bells if the “notification passes without any action by Congress.”
The Balangiga bells are three church bells taken by the US Army from the town church of Balangiga in Eastern Samar as war trophies after reprisals following the Balangiga massacre in 1901 during the Philippine-American War.
Official documents suggest one church bell is in the possession of the 9th Infantry Regiment at Camp red Cloud, their base in South Korea.
The two others are on a former base of the 11th Infantry Regiment at Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
At least one of the bells had tolled to signal the surprise attack by the Filipinos while the American troops were eating breakfast.
“We will make sure there is no hiccup. This is a long, difficult issue for both sides so I’m hopeful that we will be able to reach conclusion or resolution,” Kim said.
“Assuming there is no hiccup, we should be able to return all three bells, hopefully soon,” he said, short of providing a more specific time frame.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has notified the US Congress the Department of Defense “intends to return the bells” to the Philippines.
Last August, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney said she and two other senators “voiced their strong disapproval” at the Department of Defense’s plan to return the bells,” because it “establishes a dangerous precedent for future veterans’ memorials.”
President Rodrigo Duterte, during his State of the Nation Address last year, called for the return of the church bells.