MANILA, Oct. 17, 2013— A Catholic archbishop said they are relying so much on the faithful to help rebuild quake-damaged heritage churches in Cebu.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said the archdiocese would shoulder the bulk of the costs in rehabilitating the ruined old churches because they are only expecting a minimal help from the government.
“In many repairs, if we really look at it, the government does not give much. In many of the repairs of the heritage churches, the government only gives minimally,” said Palma.
“They give an amount but not to the extent that we can say they are the ones that had the churches repaired… Not to an extent that we can say it is a big amount,” he said.
President Benigno Aquino III said the government may only be able to help in the restoration of churches since there is a principle of the separation of the Church and State enshrined the 1987 Constitution.
The archbishop said they are glad over the government’s offer for assistance but they would be relying more on their flock to help them rescue and rebuild the churches.
“For us, the people will find a way to rebuild the church. It may take a long time but still the people will find a way,” Palma added.
After the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck parts of Central Visayas, several bishops are tapping experts to check the physical condition of old churches in their respective dioceses.
Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tirona, Bishops Leopoldo Jaucian of Bangued, and Jose Oliveros of Malolos said they need to have the old churches checked to also ensure the safety of the public.
“I’ll ask them to inspect our old churches, make an evaluation and recommendation,” Oliveros said.
On the other hand, Archbishops Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro, Ramon Arguelles of Lipa and Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi said they are regularly having their churches checked for their stability.
“We have already a structure that’s already in place in the maintenance, supervision of our churches not only the structural strength of the churches but their heritage, their cultural and historical values as well,” Baylon said.
“It’s not something that we are just doing now because we were doing it already,” he said. (CBCPNews)