The return of the Balangiga bells after 117 years of being in possession of the United States of America became historic and celebrated by the netizens on social media.
Most of the people credited President Rodrigo Duterte for making the return of the bells possible after the chief executive publicly asked the U.S to return the bells.
“Give us back those Balangiga bells. They are ours. They belong to the Philippines. They are part of our national heritage,” Duterte last year during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA).
However, several critics of the government tried to convince the people not to thank the President like Senator Risa Hontiveros who said that the current administration should not claim the credit on the return of the bells.
She explained that the public’s “strong sense of history and justice” was the reason why the bells were returned and not the foreign policy of the government.
The lady senator also slammed the President for his foreign policy which she claimed in favor of China.
“It would be wrong and insensitive for the Duterte administration to claim sole credit for the return of the bells and insist that this was the result of its so-called independent foreign policy,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“It was the people’s strong sense of history and justice that led to the return of the bells not President Rodrigo Duterte’s defeatist foreign policy which has only managed to surrender our sovereignty and territory in the West Philippine Sea,” she added.
She also hopes that the return of the bells should be a wake-up call for the Filipinos to fight against dictatorship.
“With the return of the bells, it is my hope that they will toll once again, this time in support of democracy and against an aspiring tyrant who has turned the entire country into a “modern howling wilderness” marked by unabated killings and human rights abuses,” she said.