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‘If you see it you would really cry,” says bishop of damaged Bohol churches

/ 04:13 PM October 16, 2013

A crane shifts through the rubble of the damaged Our Lady of Assumption Parish church in Dauis, Bohol, central Philippines on Tuesday Oct. 15, 2013. AP

MANILA, Philippines –Many of the historic churches in Bohol are now in shambles after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake devastated the province, Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Medroso told Radyo Inquirer 990AM on Wednesday.

Medroso said they couldn’t believe that such large churches would “crumble down” and be left “in shambles.” He lamented the damage wrought by the earthquake on the cultural heritage churches.

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“If you can see the rubble caused by the earthquake…If you see it you would really cry,” he said.

“These are the symbols not only of our culture but also the faith of our people.”

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Immediately after news of the strong tremor broke out, netizens posted photos of the damaged infrastructure. Most-telling were the iconic churches sporting fallen bell towers and facades.

The bishop said the 30-second earthquake had damaged 10 to 12 Bohol churches, many of which were centuries-old.

“The one in Maribojoc is a total wreck. Sayang yan eh. That’s a work of art, very very intricate art… In Baclayon, the (church’s) façade was destroyed and its belfry gave way,” he said.

“(In Loon,) the parish priest himself told me (the church) literally turned into rubble and he said there were two or three (people) trapped inside.”

“Clarin is also destroyed. Talagang another shamble. There were fatalities, two or three.”

Medroso said they are still in the process of assessing the damage. Both the local and the national government said they will help in the rebuilding of the structures.

“The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the government group in charge of cultural heritages, is coming here for an assessment,” he said.

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Medroso also said that Governor Edgar Chatto asked them not to touch the debris while they were waiting for the experts who will be sent to help in the assessment.

The bishop said, in addition to the reconstruction of the churches, they are asking for food.

“There are so many people (evacuees) now who are hungry… And we have to feed them, give them food (and) nourishment. We are asking for more benefactors,” he said.

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