Bohol to remember earthquake, people’s unity in rising up again
MARIBOJOC, Bohol, Philippines — For the first time in a year, the church bells of the Holy Cross Parish will ring at exactly 8:12 a.m. on Wednesday (Oct. 15) for 33 seconds.
But parish priest Fr. Warren Abarquez will ring only one bell, one that has been mounted on a makeshift belfry put up for the one-year anniversary commemorating the earthquake that killed more than 200 people.
The killer quake also affected 43 out of 47 towns and one city in the province.
To commemorate the day, bells will ring and police patrol cars, ambulances and other vehicles will blow their horns at 8:12 a.m. for 33 seconds — the exact time and duration of the tremor that shook Bohol in 2013.
“The sound of the bells has been a symbol to call or gather people. It will also remind the people that in spite of what happened, we were united in helping each other to rise again,” Abarquez said.
Provincial administrator Alfonso Damalerio said the ringing of the bells would remind the people of how the quake flattened three churches and damaged 22 others in Bohol.
“The ringing of bells and the sound of the alarms will call the attention of the public,’’ Abarquez told the Inquirer.
“The sound of the alarms and sirens will also be a reminder to us of all the individuals and groups who helped us during the rescue, relief and retrieval operations.”
At least 211 people were killed while eight remained missing in the wake of the strongest quake to hit the island-province in recent years.
One of the three churches destroyed was the Holy Cross Parish, where only the statue of Christ the King now stands. The two others were the Our Lady of Light Church in Loon town and St. Michael Parish Church in Clarin town.
For the commemoration, the Marijoboc church will use the smallest of seven centuries-old bells. It weighs about 10 kilos and is mounted on a makeshift belfry three meters (10 feet) tall.
Five big bells, each weighing about 350 kilos, have been placed beside the alternative church, which looks like a covered court—no walls or steel columns and no GI sheets for roof.
The seventh bell is kept by Abarquez in his residence out of fear it might be stolen because it weighs only about 70 kilos.
Abarquez has assigned a volunteer to ring the bell while the parishioners gather at the Municipal Cultural Center for a program.
Malacañang has declared Oct. 15 a special non-working holiday in the province.
After the ringing of the bells, Bishop Leonardo Medroso of the Diocese of Tagbilaran will hold a Mass at the St. Joseph Cathedral for the quake victims.
Gov. Edgar Chatto will lead the unveiling of a memorial shrine at Banat-i hill in Barangay (village) Bool, Tagbilaran City at 10 a.m.
At 1 p.m., an art gallery showcasing photo and video exhibits, as well as paintings of the quake aftermath, will be opened in Sta. Monica Parish convent in Alburquerque town.
A commemoration program will be held at 4 p.m. at the CPG Sports Complex in Tagbilaran.
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