MANILA - The Balangiga Bells are on their way home to the Philippines, the United States Embassy said Tuesday.
In a tweet, the US Embassy said all three bells have been loaded to a US military plane and are on their way to Manila from an American base in Okinawa, Japan.
"The three Balangiga Bells are loaded in a U.S. Air Force C-130 and already on its way from Okinawa, Japan, to Manila, Philippines today, December 11, 2018," the embassy said.
Meanwhile, Philippine government personnel are already doing preparations at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, where the bells are scheduled to arrive.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who demanded the return of the Balangiga Bells during his State of the Nation Address in July 2017, will not be attending the welcome ceremony.
The wartime bells were taken as war booty by invading American troops in Balangiga town, Eastern Samar in 1901 during the Filipino-American War.
The bells, which were used by Filipino troops to signal a sneak attack against invaders, have become a symbol of the Philippine resistance during that time.
Philippine Ambassador to the US Babe Romualdez said the bells' return is a symbol of mutual respect between long-time allies Washington and Manila.