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Church bells plundered by US troops returned.

Manila A pair of bells taken away by American soldiers from a church at the height of the Philippine-American war over a hundred years ago was officially handed over to the country's National Museum on Friday.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario turned over the over 2kg bells to National Museum director Jeremy Barns. The bells were in the custody of the Philippine mission in the US after they were handed over to Consul-General Leo Hernandez-Lim by a representative of the Sisters of Mercy Midwest Community in October. A plate attached to the bells' handle reads: "Taken from the Church at Meycauayan, Luczon [sic] Islands after bombardment by Utah Battery March 29, 1899. By P.O. Thomas, Co. A Batallion of Engineers."


"This artifact is a priceless piece of our heritage and its return at this point of our history is a demonstration of the commitment of both the Philippines and the United States to further solidify our close relations for the mutual benefit of our people," Del Rosario said.

Monte Kniffen, archivist of the Sisters of Mercy in Omaha, Nebraska, found the bells from a set of properties that were originally in the possession of the Sisters of Mercy convent in Red Bluff, California. It is not known who gave the bells to the convent, but Kniffen said they were probably surrended by a museum or a family that could have had custody of the bells.

During the war with the Philippines from 1899 to 1902, American troops seized huge church bells as war booty, the most famous of which were the bells of Balangiga in Eastern Samar.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Mar 11, 2012
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