US to return 3 bells seized from Philippines a century ago

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The United States is to return three church bells seized by U.S. troops as war trophies from the Philippines more than a century ago in a move long demanded by Filipino leaders, including the current president, who is critical of Washington and has gravitated toward China.

A representative of Defense Secretary James Mattis is to turn over the bells to the Philippine defense chief in a ceremony Tuesday at an air force base in Manila, closing a dark chapter in the treaty allies’ love-hate relationship.

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American forces took the bells after Filipino villagers killed 48 U.S. troops on central Samar island in 1901. President Rodrigo Duterte asked the U.S. last year to return the bells, saying “This is painful for us.”