MANILA - After bringing up the Bud Dajo massacre in Sulu at an ASEAN Summit meeting last week, President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday brought up another example of atrocities committed by the Americans in the Philippines when it was still a US colony.
In a speech at a Philippine Air Force event on Tuesday, Duterte recalled the 1901 massacre in Balangiga, Samar, where residents over the age of 10 were ordered killed by US General Jacob Smith following a successful attack on US forces by Filipino rebels.
Around 2,500 Filipinos were killed by the Americans in Balangiga, after Smith told US soldiers, “I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn; the more you kill and burn, the better it will please me… The interior of Samar must be made a howling wilderness…."
The Americans also took three church bells from Balangiga as "war booty." The bells have yet to be returned to the Philippines despite attempts by previous administrations.
"'Yung sa Facebook, massacre everywhere. Balangiga sa Samar. That was the time that ten years old and above, was massacred by the Americans, and got the bell(s), and until now, they hijacked it, stole it and never returned it to us," Duterte said.
"It's the sentimental value that has been attached, it is the massacre that happened to the Filipinos in Samar. Take note about that in the chapters of our history," he added.
Despite several attempts to bring back the bells and unfulfilled promises by several US presidents to return them, the bells remain at an American Air Force base in Wyoming.
Duterte again recalled how he brought up American atrocities during the US colonial era in last week's East Asia Summit in Laos, to show that the US President Barack Obama was not in a position to bring up human rights violations in the Philippines.
"We could never be just a small country and to be shouted at and lectured upon by any foreign country or by any president. When they were talking about human rights, I authorized the release of all the pictures of the horror that the Philippines suffered under Spaniards and the Americans, and for the years they sat on this country, and took care, got it all, the fat of the land, for so many years, for a hundred years," he said.
Duterte was referring to the photos he presented at an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit meeting of the March 1906 Bud Dajo massacre, where hundreds of Moros, including women and children, were killed by U.S. forces in Sulu.
According to Duterte, he will not allow other countries to lecture him and the Filipinos on what they should or should not do.
"We cannot be forever shouted at and lectured upon. Not me. As I have said, in my quest for what is right for my country, I am putting, on the table, at stake, my honor, my life and the presidency, period," Duterte said.