TAGBILARAN City, Bohol, September 2, 2014—Five as yet unnamed Boholanos, survivors of the killer earthquake that rocked Bohol in 2013, will have the enviable chance to dine with the Pope himself during his visit next year, a top church official revealed.
“He will [Pope Francis] be going to Palo [in Leyte] and we will be sending some of my people there who were victims of the quake…Five of them…They will eat with the Pope,” Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Medroso told church-run Radyo Veritas in a recent interview.
Keeping his fingers crossed, Medroso remains hopeful that the Holy Father would consider dropping by his diocese, in the event of which he is certain will boost the morale and strengthen the faith of Boholanos, particularly the quake survivors.
“It is [also] my dream he would come to Bohol, and spend even just an hour or two to counsel our people,” he said.
The earthquake hit Bohol on October 15, 2013 at roughly 8:12 a.m., affecting the whole Central Visayas region.
Official reports by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) state 222 were reported dead, eight missing, and 976 people injured.
Over 73,000 structures in total were damaged, more than 14,500 of which were totally destroyed.
It was the deadliest earthquake in the Philippines in 23 years. The energy released by the quake was allegedly equivalent to 32 Hiroshima bombs.
The prelate, meanwhile , reported that apart from Bohol’s “Heritage Churches”, the 7.2 magnitude tremor also damaged as many as 33 other church structures in the Diocese of Tagbilaran alone.
To ensure that regular masses and other church services will continue, Medroso shared that his diocese had immediately seen to the construction of four “alternative churches” and several temporary tents. (Raymond A. Sebastián)