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23/01/2019: WASHINGTON FORUM SPOTLIGHTS HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE & SIGNIFICANCE OF BALANGIGA BELLS RETURN

PRESS RELEASE
WDC-02-2019
23 January 2019

Panelists of the Forum on the Return of the Balangiga Bells. (L-R) Philippine Honorary Consul to Florida, Dr. Henry B. Howard; Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, Dr. Joseph H. Felter; and Commanding Officer of Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) (1988-1991), Rear Admiral Daniel McKinnon, Jr. SC, USN (Ret.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Philippine Embassy and the US-Philippines Society co-hosted a forum on the “Return of the Balangiga Bells: A Historical Perspective and Significance” at the Philippine Chancery Annex in the afternoon of 22 January 2019.

The forum brought together a set of renowned speakers who significantly contributed to the effort of ensuring the successful return of the bells to the Philippines in December 2018. They are Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, Dr. Joseph H. Felter; Philippine Honorary Consul to Florida, Dr. Henry B. Howard; and Commanding Officer of Naval Supply Systems Command (1988-1991), Rear Admiral Daniel McKinnon, Jr. SC. USN (Ret.).

Admiral McKinnon provided the historical background of the bells, while Consul Howard and Deputy Assistant Secretary Felter recounted the dedicated efforts exerted by Filipinos and Americans alike who worked tirelessly for the bells’ homecoming.

Representative Donald Bacon (R-NE 2nd District) who was present during the forum also underscored the significance of the bell’s return to PH-US friendship and alliance in his brief remarks.

Ambassador Romualdez again expressed the Philippine government’s gratitude to the United States for “doing what is right”, and further underscored the strong people-to-people ties between the two countries.

“We never forget friends. Once you are a friend of ours, you are a friend forever. The latest survey indicates that 85 percent of Filipinos trust the United States as an ally. We trust that this country will do what is right”, the Ambassador remarked.

“The return of these bells will never be forgotten by the people of the Philippines,” he further emphasized.

"The forum provided an unusually comprehensive and insightful happy-ending account of a successful effort by a committed team of players both inside and outside of government working for years against the odds with many dramatic near-misses along the way. Presentations underscored the significance of the Bells return in addressing a historical grievance, promoting reconciliation, strengthening people-to-people ties and fostering strategic cooperation. The US-Philippines Society and its members were privileged to have played a role in supporting this remarkable initiative," said US-Philippines Society Executive Director Hank Hendrickson who also served as moderator.

A Q&A session followed the respective remarks of the panelists, and a simple merienda concluded the program.

The Balangiga Bells were returned to the Philippines with an arrival ceremony in Villamor Air Base on 11 December 2018. They were handed over to the San Lorenzo de Martir Parish Church in Balangiga, Eastern Samar on 15 December 2018. ###

PHOTO RELEASE
WDC-03-2019
23 January 2019

Ambassador Romualdez converses with Representative Bacon prior to the start of the forum.

PHOTO RELEASE
WDC-04-2019
23 January 2019


A member of the audience asks a question to one of the panelists during the Q&A session of the forum.

PHOTO RELEASE
WDC-05-2019
23 January 2019

Group photo of the panelists with US-Philippines Society Executive Director Hank Hendrickson after the forum entitled “Return of the Balangiga Bells: A Historical Perspective and Significance” on 22 January 2019. (L-R) US-Philippines Society Executive Director Hank Hendrickson; Philippine Honorary Consul to Florida, Dr. Henry B. Howard; Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, Dr. Joseph H. Felter; and Commanding Officer of Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) (1988-1991),Rear Admiral Daniel McKinnon, Jr. SC, USN (Ret.)