MANILA- Returning the bells of Balangiga would be a "good gesture" from the United States, Foreign Affairs Chief Alan Peter Cayetano said Wednesday.
Cayetano said he has asked for a study of the bells taken as "war booty" by American soldiers more than 100 years ago after President Rodrigo Duterte asked Washington to return it last Monday.
"Anything the President says is a priority. Yesterday (Tuesday), I already asked for a study. Some congressmen are volunteering where it is and I'm sure many people in the US government will work with us toward recovering this and it will be a good gesture and symbol," he said.
The 3 church bells were taken by the US Army from the town of Balangiga, Eastern Samar in 1901 as "war booty." Two of the bells remain at an American Air Force base in Wyoming.
US Embassy press attache Molly Koscina on Tuesday said it will find a resolution to address the issue of the bells.
"We are aware that the Bells of Balangiga have deep significance for a number of people, both in the United States and in the Philippines. We will continue to work with our Filipino partners to find a resolution," she said in a statement.
-With a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News