Hollywood actors and personalities joined hands with Filipino community groups on Saturday, April 4 at a “launch party” at the Pilipino Workers’ Center (PWC) in Los Angeles to revitalize the campaign to return the Bells of Balangiga from Wyoming to Samar, Leyte.
Led by campaign President Logan Clarke and hosted by PWC Executive Director Aquilina Versoza, the launch was led by well known actors John Savage (Oscar winner and star of the Deer Hunter), Martin Kove, best known for his portrayal as the evil karate sensei John Kreese in The Karate Kid trilogy, Michael Pare’ (Eddie and the Cruisers), award winning author and professor Oscar Penaranda, and dozens of community activists writers, actors and philanthropists.
Some 114 years ago the Bells of Balangiga, church bells in a Filipino church in the town of Balangiga and Filipino spiritual relics were seized as war booty.
The Bells have been in U.S. custody in F.E. Air force Base, Wyoming up to now.
Over the years, numerous high-level efforts have been made to recover the bells, including the promises of two U.S Presidents.
At the PWC, The Committee to Return the Bells has launched an Indiegogo campaign, “A 100 Year Journey home” with the intent to raise awareness about the Bells.
The campaign features a short film narrated by Danny Glover, interviews with US Congressman Dana
Rohrabacher, conversation with Hollywood Actors, and conversations with the grandchildren of both American
Soldiers and Filipino villager’s protagonist of the 1901 episode.
The Committee includes actors Danny Glover, Rosario Dawson, Nastassja Kinski, John Savage, Martin Kove, and Ronnie Ricketts, award winning Filipino Writer Oscar Penaranda, and many other professionals, politicians, journalists, actors, musicians, private investigators, directors, philanthropists and Philippine American history advocates. .
Manny Pacquiao, world boxing champion is the Committee’s Honorary Chairman and Logan Clarke, famous private detective is the Committee president.
The Committee to Return the Bells intends to create international awareness of the history of the Balangiga church bells and to bring about their return to the rightful owners – the Filipino people.
According to Campaign President Clarke thousands of Filipinos and Americans are working together to make this dream true. “With a committed campaign, well managed with a specific timetable we will launch a lobby in US Congress, with the support of the people from the Philippines and the U.S.”
The Indiegogo campaign will last 45 days and will continue to release interviews and controversial conversation with both Americans and Filipinos, some of who are actors, writers, military personnel and politicians.
The funds raised through Indiegogo will finance a short documentary produced in Hollywood, among others.