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Prelates: Transfer of Balangiga bells to Nat’l Museum is ‘disrespectful mangling of history’

Change of plans: Duterte to attend Balangiga handover in E. Samar

The Balangiga bells were unloaded at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. (Photo by NOY MORCOSO / INQUIRER.net)

The Bishop and clergy of the diocese of Borongon on Thursday objected to the transfer of one or all of the Balangiga bells to the National Museum saying such effort is a “disrespectful mangling of history.”

The diocese of Borongan was reacting to the Senate Resolution (SR) No. 965, which urged the government to transfer one of the bells to the National Museum for the appreciation and education of the general public.

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The diocese insisted that the bells belong to its “historical and rightful habitat,” which is the Parish Church of Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr, in Balangiga town, Eastern Samar.

READ: Town in frenzy over return of Balangiga bells after 117 years

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“We, the Bishop and Clergy of the Diocese of Borongan collectively object to and strongly stand against the transfer of one or all of the bells of Balangiga from their historical and rightful habitat,” the diocese of Borongan said in a statement.

“Any effort aimed at such a transfer is a disrespectful mangling of history and the right of the Catholic faithful of Balangiga to their private property,” it added.

The diocese of Borongan said that the SR No. 965 “does violence to the history and the sacred character and purpose of the Balangiga bells,” therefore it must be rejected.

It added that the encounter, which the bells played a role, happened in Balangiga, therefore it is “only right that they be returned to Balangiga and stay in Balangiga.”

The Balangiga bells tolled on the morning of September 28, 1901 to signal the start of a sneak attack by dozens of town villagers against American soldiers.

The diocese of Borongan argued that the bells are sacred artifacts that call the faithful to the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist therefore the bells belong in the Church and not in a museum. /jpv

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