NCCA vows to restore quake-damaged churches

Posted at 10/15/2013 6:18 PM | Updated as of 10/16/2013 11:01 AM
Damaged Sto. Niño Church in Cebu. Photo courtesy of April Raine

MANILA – The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) on Tuesday expressed its commitment to rehabilitate the churches in Bohol and Cebu badly damaged by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake.

Bohol's Loboc, Baclayon, Dauis and Loay Churches were badly damaged, as seen in the photos taken by tourists and residents.

The Loon Church, meanwhile, completely collapsed. The Philippines' oldest church, Cebu's Basilica Minore del Santo Nino, was also terribly damaged.

"We express our commitment to rescue and later, rehabilitate, damaged heritage structures, many of them churches that have been part of the life of the people for centuries, in collaboration with the Catholic Church, local government officials and communities," the NCCA said in a statement.

"A majority of these structures have been declared National Cultural Treasures, National Historical Landmarks, and Important Cultural Properties, all of which are protected by the Heritage Law."

The NCCA said a joint team of experts, which will be called the Heritage Task Force, will inspect and evaluate the damage beginning on October 17, Thursday.

The task force is expected to "establish the severity of damage, identify properties that immediately have to be secured, draw up priorities for restoration, estimate the amount of human and financial resources necessary; and establish important linkages with stakeholders."

The team is also required to coordinate with the Church, national and local government agencies in the rescue and restoration effort.

A mobilization fund will also be given to the team for the assessment of the damage.