MANILA- In his second State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte took the opportunity to ask the United States to return bells taken by American soldiers as war booty more than a hundred years ago.
"Give us back those Balangiga bells. They are ours. They belong to the Philippines. They are part of our national heritage," Duterte said Monday.
The 3 church bells were taken by the US Army from the town of Balangiga, Eastern Samar in 1901 as "war booty."
"Isauli naman ninyo. Masakit yun sa amin," Duterte added.
(Return it. It is painful for us.)
Duterte's SONA is not the first time the President brought up the Balangiga massacre. He spoke about it last year, citing the incident as an example of American atrocities.
The bells have yet to be returned to the Philippines despite attempts by previous administrations.
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.