MANILA – Almost all of the 25 churches in the Diocese of Tagbilaran that were damaged by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that hit the province of Bohol seven years ago have been restored.
Fr. Milan Ted Torralba of the diocese’s Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church said 21 of these churches have been repaired.
The restored churches are in the towns of Baclayon, Alburquerque, Loay, Dimiao, Dauis, Panglao, Cortes, Valencia, Garcia-Hernandez, Tubigon, Balilihan, Corella, Clarin, Calape, Lila, Sikatuna, Catigbian, Sevilla, Sagbayan, Batuan, Tagbilaran.
He said restoration works for the remaining four in the parishes of Loboc, Maribojoc, Loon, and Antequera would have been completed this year if not for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
The works are expected to be completed next year.
Torralba, also executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Commission on Cultural Heritage of the Church (CBCP-CCHC), added that the original plan was to rebuild and restore all the churches by this year in preparation for the 500th anniversary of Christianity in the Philippines next year.
“But the pace went slow because of the pandemic so they move the date to next year,” he said in an article posted on the CBCP news website on Thursday.
The Catholic priest added that 11 of the 25 churches were covered by the government’s national calamity-related reconstruction and restoration program.
These structures were declared by the government’s cultural agencies as national cultural treasures, national historical landmarks, and important cultural properties.
The funds for the repair of other churches were also provided by US bishops, especially those that are not in the list of heritage structures and did not receive government support.
The earthquake that hit Bohol in 2013 also damaged nine churches in the Diocese of Talibon in the northern part of the province, but all of them have been restored. (PNA)