THE return of the Balangiga bells and Catriona Gray’s win at the Miss Universe pageant were the two best stories in 2018, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said yesterday.
Among the two events, the US government’s historic turnover of the Balangiga church bells, which American soldiers took as war booty in 1901 during the Philippine-American war, was the more significant.
“At alam naman natin kung gaano kahalaga itong mga kampana na ito sa ating kasaysayan. The bells represent the valiance, courage, bravery, nationalism of Filipinos that went before us,” Andanar explained.
Catriona Gray winning the Miss Universe 2018 crown was a close second because this was the fourth time a Philippine bet won the pageant after Pia Wurtzbach (2015), Margie Moran (1973), and Gloria Diaz (1969).
Andanar said the country's “improved” status on impunity against journalists was also a welcome event during the year.
Citing the recent report by media freedom organization Reporters Without Borders, Andanar said the Philippines was “delisted” from the world’s top five deadliest countries for journalists in 2018.