Task force formed to restore damaged churches

Officials of at least three national cultural agencies met in Manila, few hours after the quake, and formed the “Heritage Task Force” for the purpose.

Philippines
Oct 18 2013, 1:51 PM
Task force formed to restore damaged churches

The country’s culture agencies formed a task force to restore centuries’-old churches in Bohol and Cebu provinces that were destroyed in Tuesday’s earthquake.

Officials of at least three national cultural agencies met in Manila, few hours after the quake, and formed the “Heritage Task Force” for the purpose.

A joint team of experts will soon visit Bohol and Cebu provinces to inspect and evaluate the damage. The lead agencies include the National Historical Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), National Historical Commission for the Philippines and the National Museum.

NCCA said in a statement that it would have to first estimate the amount of human and financial resources needed for restoration and rebuilding.

“The Heritage Task Force shall coordinate closely with the Church, national and local government agencies in the rescue and restoration effort,” NCCA said. It would provide a mobilization fund for the initial assessment, pending the national government’s decision on wider rehabilitation efforts.

NCCA said majority of the structures have been declared National Cultural Treasures, National Historical Landmarks and Important Cultural Properties. “All of which are protected by the Heritage Law.”

Among those badly damaged are churches in Baclayon and Loboc in Bohol and the tower Niño Basilica in Cebu City.

Bishop Leonardo Medroso of Tagbilaran said the Bohol cathedral did not suffer major damage but several antique statues of saints were destroyed. Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church in Baclayon town of Bohol diocese, one of the country’s oldest churches, is among the churches destroyed.

In Cebu City, the quake destroyed the Niño Basilica’s bell tower. Masses and other activities inside the basilica and the Cebu cathedral have already been cancelled as a precautionary measure.

He has asked the faithful to pray for the victims and survivors of the earthquake. The National Secretariat for Social Action and Caritas Manila would be sending emergency assistance for those affected by the quake. Church agencies have assured to help the affected communities, the bishop said.

Source: CBCPNews

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