NDF-EV condemns Duterte as a traitor for using Balangiga Bells to buy US arms against the Filipino people

Press Release | August 31, 2018

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today slammed Government of the Republic of the Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte as a traitor for demanding the return of the Balangiga Bells as a condition to buy US arms for use against the Filipino people in his “counterinsurgency” campaign.

Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson, said Duterte’s statement “is not only an insult to the memory of the people’s uprising in Balangiga against the US war of aggression to colonize the Philippines, but also treasonous for conniving with a foreign power against the Filipino people in the ongoing civil war.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson said, “GRP President Duterte sometimes pretends to be a patriot standing up to the US when he is in fact just a puppet playing with the strings of his master. He has been most compliant to US imperialist violations of national sovereignty, such as together with China in the West Philippine Sea. There is also his obtaining US military assistance, such as the use of drones, in his all-out wars against the Moro people and the New People’s Army that have turned Marawi City and other parts of Mindanao into modern versions of Samar’s “howling wilderness” in 1901. Pretending sometimes to be against the US but deferring mainly to it, Duterte is not averse to Russia and China only as a supplicant for more sources of foreign borrowing in an increasingly multipolar world.

“Duterte on the issue of the Balangiga Bells in the final analysis speaks as a minion of US imperialism. After all his tirades, he and his master remain united in ‘counterinsurgency’ or the pacification of the Filipino people’s continuing struggle for national freedom and democracy. He disingenuously makes a gambit of demanding the return of the Balangiga Bells for the sake of ‘counterinsurgency’ to seem patriotic, when in truth he and his armed forces carry on the mercenary tradition to US imperialism in an unjust war against the unfinished struggle of the Filipino people for national freedom and democracy. It is also plain that Duterte’s citing of the Balangiga Bells to buy US weapons is sounding the death knell for the peace talks.”

Fr. Salas concluded that, “Filipino patriots and their friends and supporters here and in the United States have long sought the return of the Balangiga Bells, a campaign with which NDF-EV is in solidarity. It is well if the Balangiga Bells will be returned to address in a symbolic manner the historical grievance of the brutal colonization of the Philippines from 1899-1946 by US imperialism. Even today, the bells remain iconic of the continuing captive state of the country as a neocolony of US imperialism run by a succession of its puppet regimes under the most stultifying political, economic, military and cultural ties.

“In contrast to the banalities of the US government and the GRP, returning the bells will be a tribute to the efforts of the Filipino people and the American people who have been one in anti-colonial and anti-imperialist solidarity ever since, such as that expressed by Mark Twain and the Anti-Imperialist League. They reject the past and present crimes of empire and uphold national freedom and democracy for the Philippines. Together with the freedom-loving Americans and Filipinos, we look forward to the return of the Balangiga Bells to toll once more the continuing struggle of the Filipino people to be free.”#