NHCP to help rehabilitate damaged historic sites in earthquake-hit areas
MANILA, Philippines — The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) will help rehabilitate historic sites and structures damaged by the magnitude 7.0 earthquake in Lagangilang town in Abra.
“The NHCP, in collaboration with the local government units and cultural property owners, expresses its commitment to help rehabilitate the damaged historic sites and structures, many of them have been part of the life of the people for centuries,” the commission said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
The NHCP said it would discuss plans for rehabilitation work with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts on Thursday.
In the meantime, it urged its local partners to safeguard artifacts and retrieve important parts of the structure necessary for restoration — and have all of them documented.
In Viga, the capital of Ilocos Sur, heritage structures, including churches, were damaged by the earthquake.
According to reports, some parts of the front portion of the Vigan Cathedral were damaged and the Bantay tower in Bantay nearly collapsed during the intense quake.
In Abra, two tourist sites were heavily damaged – the Santa Catalina de Alexandria Church, a 19th-century baroque structure declared by the National Museum in 2001 as a national cultural treasure, and San Lorenzo Ruiz Shrine, another national cultural treasure, in Bangued, according to the Department of Tourism.
Five people reportedly died when the tremor hit northeast of Lagangilang, Abra, at 8:43 a.m. on Wednesday, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
As of this writing, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has reported 280 aftershocks.