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Duterte to US: Return Balangiga bells

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By Genalyn D. Kabiling

President Duterte criticized the United States (US) for refusing to return the Balangiga bells seized from the Philippines more than a century ago.

The President insisted that the church bells belong to the country as he slammed the US troops for the massacre in Balangiga, Samar in the 1900s.

“Up to now, America has refused to return the bells. Some lawmakers refused to give back the bells because they were supposed to be mementos for the American blood spilt. S*n of a b*tch! You went to Samar, you conquered us so it was natural we would rebel,” the President said in Filipino during his visit to Cebu City.

“I want you to return the bells. Why? Because the capital of the Filipinos there was blood. You massacred one godd*amn island,” he said.

Duterte recalled that a US military general even ordered his troops to reduce Samar into a “howling” wilderness.

The church bells were taken by American soldiers as war booty during the Balangiga massacre where a number of Filipinos and Americans were killed.

Two US lawmakers recently posed objection to the return of the bells to the Philippines, after expressing concern over the human rights violations associated with Duterte’s drug war.

Illinois Rep. Randy Hultgren and Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern has written a letter to US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis not to provide certification for the return of the bells until the Philippine government puts an end to the extra-judicial killings.

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