Rodrigo Roa Duterte

Address on the Return of the Bells of Balangiga

delivered 15 December 2018, Balangiga Auditorium, Balangiga, Eastern Samar

Audio AR-XE mp3 of Address


[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

His Excellency Gabriele Caccia, Apostolic Nuncio of the Philippines; National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and the other members of the Cabinet; Eastern Samar Governor Marcelo Picardal1; U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission John Law; Balangiga Mayor Randy Graza; Most Reverend Archbishop Romulo Valles, my personal spiritual guidance counselor; the people of the wonderful town of Balangiga:

Mabuhay kayong lahat. [Tagalog]
[Long live all of you.]

I share your happiness and joy today.

The other distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
Maupay nga kulop, hiyaong nga katawhan. [Cebuano]
[Good evening, good people.]

I was born here -- but on the other side of the islands. I do not know what dialect you have adopted here. I think -- Waray kalipay.2 [Cebuano] Hangtod karon, araa na ang kalipay nato.3 [Cebuano]

Today's gathering is indeed a time to be truly sentimental as we welcome back our Balangiga Bells. It has been 117 years since these bells were taken away from us. Yet, we never lost hope that someday, these treasures will be returned to where they belong.

We know fully well that several efforts to return the bells have been made by both America and the Philippines. It has been indeed a long and tedious process, to the point that the outcome was disappointing sometimes.

But the long wait is over.

SecDef James Mattis on the Return of the Bells of Balangiga

Ambassador Sung Y. Kim's Speech on the Bells' Return

The rest of the Filipino nation joins the Diocese of Borongan in celebrating this historic event. Indeed, this victory is the result of the optimism and solidarity and patriotism of those behind the bells' return, just [like] when our forefathers fought for freedom against foreign domination more than a century ago.

But let me be very clear on this. There are some who are the [floor leaders?] and the pedantic in the government. You know, the bells
are returned and it was really because of the fervent prayers of the entire Filipino nation.

Nobody but nobody can claim a singular credit for the generous act of the Americans. The bells are returned. The credit goes to the American people and to the Filipino people. Period.

On behalf of a great [or grateful] nation, I thank all the stakeholders who contributed to ensure the return of the Balangiga Bells to the country. The homecoming of these artifacts is truly a milestone in the shared and meaningful history of the United States and the Philippines, and heralds a new and more vibrant chapter in our bilateral relations.

More than just a part of the Balangiga Church,4 these bells are [a] significant element in our country's religious and historical narrative. They are [an] enduring symbol of our history and treasure.

I therefore trust that our kababayans5 in Balangiga and the rest of the country will ensure the protection of these gems and will continue to preserve and promote our culture and history.

I congratulate the Filipino people for forging a history that [we] could all forever be proud of. I am sure that our -- our ancestors are celebrating with us here on this remarkable victory and that does not only bring back the glory of the town of Balangiga, but also contributes in the full restoration of our dignity as a Filipino.

Daghang salamat. [Cebuano]
[Thank you very much.]

Daghang salamat sa America. [Cebuano]
[Thank you very much to America.]

Daghang salamat kaninyong tanan. [Cebuano]
[Thank you very much to all of you.]

Daghang salamat sa Filipino. [Cebuano]
Thank you very much to the Filipinos.]

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! [Tagalog]
[Long live the Philippines!]

Book/CDs by Michael E. Eidenmuller, Published by McGraw-Hill (2008)

1 Unable to locate biographical information for Governor Picardal

2 Three possible renderings in English: 1: “Happy is the Waray.” 2: “Happy Waray dialect.”
3: “Waray is happiness.”

3 Four possible renderings in English: “Up to now, we have had our happiness.” 2: “Up to now, we have been happy.” 3: “Until now, we have had our happiness.” 4: “Until now, we have been happy.”

4 Parish Church of San Lorenzo de Martir, Eastern Samar

5  Tagalog. The “s” was added to anglicize the term to make it plural. There is no “kababayans” word per se in the Tagalog dialect.

Original Text, Audio, Images Source:

Original Image #4 Note: Enhanced screenshot from video:

Transcript Note: Philippine dilalect(s) to English translation via South Transcription Unlimited, Inc. | | and

Audio Note: AR-XE = American Rhetoric Extreme Enhancement

Page Updated: 10/23/20

U.S. Copyright Status: Text, Audio, Images = Public domain per this notice on the Philippine Government website: "All content is in the public domain unless otherwise stated." Whether and to what extent any rights may be extended to the specifically crafted work above in the U.S. is unclear. Some modifications to the original have been made, including Tagalog to English and Cebuano to English translations, to better accord with the audio delivery and to provide additional context (e.g., via hyperlinks).
































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