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Boholanos remember devastating Oct. 15 quake four years after

By: - Correspondent / @leoudtohanINQ
/ 10:47 PM October 15, 2017

The church in Loay was among many structure heavily damaged by the Oct. 15, 2013, magnitued-7.5 earthquake that the provinces of Bohol and Cebu, killing 222 people and leaving thousands of others displaced. An outline on acetate shows the former outline of the churchoverlapped with new photographs taken a year after the devastation is shown here. (Photo by MARIANNE BERMUDEZ / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol — On Sunday, four years to the day, Boholanos paused to reflect on a devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck their province on Oct. 15, 2013, destroying scores of structures, killing at least 200 of people, injuring at least 800, and displacing more than 300,000 survivors.

At 8:12 a.m., residents of this city observed a minute of silent prayer as church bells tolled to mark the fourth anniversary of the quake that devastated the province in 2013.

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Sunday’s commemoration struck a somber note and also emphasized deeply entrenched grief and trauma of the disaster.

Some said they couldn’t believe four years had passed since the tragedy that to many still felt like it had happened “just yesterday.”

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In Tagbilaran City, a Mass was celebrated at the St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral by Tagbilaran Bishop Emeritus Leonardo Medroso of the Diocese of Tagbilaran.

In his homily, Medroso asked the parishioners to pray for one another.

“We asked his grace to look forward for better things,” he said. “But the better thing is to have that spirit to accept good things that come from God and also to accept whatever calamity that come to our lives… that power of charity, the power of love.”

After the Mass, Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto gave his message. He said that the earthquake allowed Boholanos to deepen their faith in God as they helped each other.

Chatto told the Inquirer later that the recovery of the province was almost complete.

“We are very inspired with the recovery of the province of Bohol and its entirety,” Chatto said. “Generally, all the agencies that have committed their contribution in the quick rehabilitation of the province had delivered their 90 percent, 95 percent, and 100 percent.”

Although he said certain agencies were able to achieve only 80 percent rehabiliation.

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“The gaps that have identified have been quickly addressed with these agencies,” Chatto said. “We are not done with the whole process of the recovery, but definitely we are moving very, very quickly.”

Chatto said that some of the provincial statistics in the tourist arrival and business investments showed very good signs of the recovery of the province.

Several activities were also held in different towns on Sunday.

The Holy Trinity Church in Loay was formally turned over to local authorities on Sunday morning.

The 1855 Provincial Capitol Building, which was built in stone and lime as tribunal and garrison, was also restored and a soft opening was held Sunday afternoon. It took four years to restore it to make sure that the structure would not only regain its original form but would also be disaster-resilient.

In Maribojoc, local officials and residents gathered to commemorate the quake in synch with the 157th anniversary of the foundation of the town. A portion of a mountain in Maribojoc, which was scarred by the quake, was visible from the gymnasium where the event was held.

“The people have recovered from the tragedy,” Mayor Gumersindo Arocha said. “They have their own houses from the government.”

The families also visited cemeteries to remember those who had lost their lives.

Every Oct. 15, since the date of the deadliest earthquake, the Somoros and Empinados families would visit the Bayong Falls in Sagbayan town where their five children were buried.

“I’ll visit this place every year for the rest of my life,” Genara Somoro said.

“This is where I remember my children and this is where I get my strength. I will never forget,” she added.

The Barace family in Antequera town also visited the public cemetery to pay homage to their four family members who were all swallowed by a giant crack in the ground

Full recovery will take awhile longer. /atm

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