In this November 15 photo, one of the Balangiga bells from F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming is removed from its display.
US Embassy in Manila/Released
Replicas to replace Balangiga bells in Wyoming
( - December 10, 2018 - 2:21pm

MANILA, Philippines — Replicas of the Balangiga bells that will be returned to the Philippines will replace the original in Wyoming, the United States Embassy in Manila said Monday.

US Embassy press attache Molly Koscina said replicas of the bells will be placed in the memorial at the F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Two of the bells used to be in Wyoming while the third one was with the US base in South Korea.

The bells are currently at the US military base in Okinawa, Japan and are being prepared for its repatriation to the Philippines.

The church bells, which were taken by American soldiers from Balangiga in Eastern Samar in 1901, are expected to arrive at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on Tuesday morning.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana will receive the bells from US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim in a handover ceremony scheduled on Tuesday afternoon.

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to attend the handover ceremony, which Malacañang sees as an affirmation of the strong ties between the two countries.

“We thank them for this gesture that would formally put closure to a tragic and contentious episode in both our countries’ history,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said over the weekend.

Last month, a US Defense Secretary James Mattis led a military ceremony in Wyoming to signify the official return of the bells to the Philippines.

"In returning the Bells of Balangiga to our ally and our friend the Philippines, we pick up our generation’s responsibility to deepen the respect between our people," Mattis said.

Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez also attended the ceremony in Wyoming, stressing its significance as it brings a close to the Filipino-American war. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

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