MULTIMEDIA

Can you hear the bells ringing?

Maverick Pesigan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 17 2018 04:23 PM | Updated as of Aug 17 2018 04:38 PM

Can you hear the bells ringing?

Long a torn on the side of US-Philippines relations, the prospect of returning the bells from Balangiga is again ringing in the air.

No less than United States Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has favored and endorsed the return of the "war booty" taken by the US Army from the town of Balangiga, Eastern Samar in 1901 during the Philippine-American war.

The bells were taken by US soldiers from the church of Balangiga after a reprisal for an attack by Filipino rebels on the US Army that killed 48 men.

The US Army retaliated by burning the whole town of Balangiga where the rebels came from and claimed the three church bells as "war trophies."

Previous administrations, since President Fidel Ramos' term, have called for the return of the bells. President Rodrigo Duterte's reiteration for the return of the bells during his State of the Nation Address last year prompted current actions for its homecoming.

But until the US Congress agrees, no sounds of victory will be coming yet from the church belfry in Balangiga.