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Change of plans: Duterte to attend Balangiga bells handover in E. Samar

Change of plans: Duterte to attend Balangiga handover in E. Samar

The Balangiga bells were unloaded at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. (Photo by NOY MORCOSO / INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines—After making some changes in his schedule, President Rodrigo Duterte will now be able to lead the turnover ceremony of Balangiga bells in Eastern Samar on Saturday

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said this early Thursday morning, just hours after initially announcing that the President would not attend the ceremony.

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READ: Duterte won’t attend Balangiga bells turnover 

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“Due to the persistent requests from the people of Eastern Samar who look forward to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s personally bringing the Balangiga bells to the town of Balangiga, the President has decided to attend the turnover ceremony of the Balangiga bells to the local officials on Saturday, December 15,” Panelo said in a statement.

The Palace official claimed that “the President has made changes in his schedule of activities to join the Filipino community in welcoming the return of the bells.”

Earlier, Panelo said Duterte’s attendance from “pressing matters of governance that require his utmost and immediate attention” would keep him away from personally leading the handover of the historic church bells on Saturday.

On Tuesday, Duterte missed the official homecoming of the bells at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.

The Balangiga bells returned to the Philippines 117 years after these were taken by US soldiers as war trophies./ac

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