Students and militant groups staged their protest rally on Thursday(September 28) demanding for the return of the Balangiga Bells taken by the American soldiers in 1901. This year marks the 116th Balangiga Encounter, considered as the single worst defeat by the Americans during their occupation of the country. (JAZMIN BONIFACIO)

TACLOBAN CITY- Students and members of militant groups staged their protest here in the city demanding for the return of the Balangiga Bells now in possession of the American government.
The rally staged by the students from the University of the Philippines-Tacloban Campus and the Bayan Sinirangan Bisayas coincided with the 116th anniversary of the Balangiga encounter on Thursday (September 28).
President Rodrigo Duterte, who served as the main guest in this year’s commemorative program, has again issued his call for the return of the bells taken away by the American soldiers on September 28,1901.
The bells are currently placed at the F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming while another one is displayed at the traveling museum of the 9th US Infantry based in South Korea.
Joshua Sagdullas, a UP student and spokesperson of Bayan, said that aside for their call for the return of the Balangiga Bells, their rally, attended by around 600 people, was also staged to express their desire for the United States stop its intervention in the Philippines’ internal affairs.
“We condemn the US for resisting the return of the bells which shows how the US does not consider the murder of the 50,000 as a war crime and that we must also condemn the continued US militarization in the Philippines especially in the Mindanao right now,” Sagdullas said.
The American government has aided the country’s military campaign to oust the terror Maute group’s occupation of Marawi City. (JAZMIN BONIFACIO)