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PHOTO ESSAY: BOHOL QUAKE ONE YEAR AFTER, THE RUINS LEFT BEHIND 

OCT 14 --On Oct. 15, 2013 at 8:12 a.m., a 7.5 earthquake, the deadliest in 23 years,
devastated the provinces of Bohol and Cebu, killing 222 people and leaving in ruins centuries-old churches. Heavily damaged were the Church of San Pedro Apostol in Loboc, Church of Our Lady of Light in Loon, the Santisima Trinidad Parish in Loay, Our Lady of Immaculate Conception in Baclayon, Our Lady of Assumption Church in Dauis, St. Isidore the Farmer Church in Tubigon and the Santa Cruz Church in Maribojoc.

Lest we forget, the Inquirer presents a photo essay of these churches, their old structures outlined on acetate and overlapped with new photographs taken a year after the devastation. VIEW YEAR BEFORE/YEAR AFTER PHOTOS...

ALSO: Bells to ring in Bohol churches at 8:12 a.m. on Wed, Oct 15 

OCT 14 --PHOTO: SILENTNOMORE A church bell is seen in front of the ruins ofOur Lady of the
Lights Church in Loon. MARIBOJOC, Bohol—For the first time in a year, the church bells of Holy Cross Parish will ring at exactly 8:12 a.m. today, Wednesday, for 33 seconds.
But the 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, other church 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 province last year.

“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. Reminder to all --“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. * READ MORE...

ALSO: 33 seconds of terror recalled in Bohol 

PHOTO: 7.2 – All lit up by candles, 7.2 pertains to the magnitude of the devastating earthquake that ravaged Bohol on October 15, 2013. Boholanos commemorated the first year since it struck, starting with an ecumenical prayer vigil at the Rizal Park in Tagbilaran Tuesday night as part of the “Oktubre Kinse Earthquake Memorial.”  Tagbilaran City, Bohol – The bells at the St. Joseph Cathedral in Tagbilaran City rang for 33 seconds at exactly 8:12 a.m. yesterday. Outside the church, sirens of police cars and ambulances were turned on for exactly the same number of seconds.

On the same day last year, Boholanos woke up to the shaking of grounds when the 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the province. The horror brought about by the earthquake lasted for 33 long seconds, toppling centuries-old churches, leveling concrete houses, destroying bridges and roads, and killing at least 200 people. It happened exactly at 8:12 a.m. “It was the longest 33 seconds of my entire life,” said Mamerto Maghanoy, a 63-year-old Boholano who cheated death by jumping off the window of his house before it was razed to the ground. Yesterday, the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake, thousands of Boholanos were gathered to hear mass inside the St. Joseph Cathedral in the capital city. In other towns, masses were also held to commemorate the tragic day.

When the first bell rang at 8:12 a.m., everyone inside the church sat or stood quietly in attention. The chitchats turned to deafening silence. Everyone knew that it was on the same day and the same time last year that the earthquake struck the province. As the ringing went on, people started wiping their tears, others closed their eyes apparently to recall what happened to them a year ago. Outside, ambulances and police cars turned on their sirens, parked vehicles blew their horns. “We are gathered here in order to celebrate… not the destruction of our houses nor the deaths of our loved ones but to celebrate the love of God, which made us stand up again and go through all the challenges brought about by the calamity,” said Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Medroso in his homily. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Bells, sirens, alarms fill Bohol air ‘to celebrate God’s love’ 

OCT 16 ---At exactly 8:12 a.m. yesterday, at least a thousand Catholic devotees
stood in silence for about a minute in the middle of the Mass at the pilgrim center of the Basilica Minore de Sto. Nińo in downtown Cebu City. They then lit candles and offered prayers for the 223 people who died in Bohol and Cebu when the two provinces were rocked by 7.2 magnitude earthquake at 8:12 a.m. of Oct. 15, 2013.

“Together, we mark this day with prayers of remembrance, of healing and guidance,” said Fr. Jonas Mejares, rector of the basilica who presided over the Mass with concelebrating priests. “The images of the tragedy of Oct. 15, 2013 are still so vivid in our minds and senses. As we look back, we remember the lives of those who died so tragically,” he added. INQUIRER PHOTO.

TAGBILARAN CITY, Philippines—Sounds of bells pealing, sirens and alarms filled the air at 8:12 a.m. on Wednesday to commemorate the exact time when a 7.2-magnitude earthquake rocked Bohol and a portion of Cebu, causing deaths and massive destruction. “I was reminded of last year’s tremor and how fleeting life is. In one instant, everything could be taken from you,” said Janet Villarojo, who was among the 3,000 people attending Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral here. Her house was among those damaged by the tremor in Barangay (village) Mansasa.
Villarojo was teary-eyed when she heard the bells peal before the Mass celebrated by Bishop Leonardo Medroso of the Diocese of Tagbilaran.

In Cebu City, at least 1,000 devotees stood in silence for about a minute at 8:12 a.m. while in the middle of Mass at the pilgrim center of Basilica Minore del Sto. Nińo. They later lit candles and offered prayers for the 223 people who died in Bohol and Cebu. A Eucharistic celebration was also held at Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral to remember those who died. Celebrating God’s love ---In his homily, Medroso said God had always been with the Boholanos during the time of tragedy. “We have to see behind all of our calamities and tragedies. There is the love of God.

We celebrate the love of God,” he said. Bohol lost three heritage churches—Our Lady of Light Parish Church in Loon town, Holy Cross Parish Church in Maribojoc town, and St. Michael Parish Church in Clarin town—during the quake, but Medroso said what mattered most was the firmer faith of the people. “Our God has to destroy our material church to see the importance of the living Church—you and me,” he said. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Not a single centavo from govt; a year after big quake, rehab funds still hanging 

OCT 15 --SAGBAYAN, Bohol—For eight months, local officials and employees had to hold office
inside tents after the strongest earthquake to hit the province in years left the municipal hall in ruins. In June, they found relief when they transferred to a makeshift building made of plywood and GI sheets beside a vacant lot where the municipal hall once stood. The mayor’s office was on the left wing while the vice mayor’s office and session hall were on the right. At the center were the various departments separated by walls of plywood. The municipal hall cannot be rebuilt for lack of funds from the national government, said Felito Pon, head of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO).Sagbayan, the epicenter of the 7.2-magnitude earthquake, was supposed to receive P242 million for the repair of infrastructure, classrooms and houses.

But not a single centavo has reached the local officials—a year after the quake. Paper work --“A lot of paper work, like detailed engineering design, has delayed the release of funds,” Pon told the Inquirer. “We really wanted to have them (the rehabilitation funds) earlier,”ť he said. “We are hoping that by the end of this year we can start the repairs.” None of the 20 damaged municipal and City Halls has been rebuilt a year after the tremor. These are in Tagbilaran City and the towns of Loon, Cortes, Tubigon, Sagbayan, Antequera, Balilihan, Catigbian, Corella, Maribojoc, Sikatuna, Buenavista, Danao, San Isidro, San Miguel, Candijay, Dimiao, Loay, Pilar, Sevilla and Sierra Bullones. Funds delayed ---Not one of the 15 municipal halls has been repaired. These are Calape, Dauis, Panglao, Clarin, Inabanga, Alburquerque, Baclayon, Dagohoy, Trinidad, Alicia, Batuan, Carmen, Duero, Loboc and Valencia.
The local officials are still waiting for the release of P2.461 billion in rehabilitation funds that were turned over to Gov. Edgar Chatto by Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Budget Secretary Butch Abad on June 6. * READ MORE...


ALSO: Bohol to remember earthquake, people’s unity in rising up again 

OCT 15 --PHOTO: BACLAYON Church in ruins after the 7.2-magnitude quake that struck Bohol
province last year. TONEE DESPOJO/CEBU DAILY NEWS. OCTOBER 15 EVERY YEAR DECLARED A HOLIDAY. 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.* READ MORE...

ALSO: 1 year after Bohol quake: priest sad much still ‘unbuilt’ 

OCT 17 ---TAGBILARAN City, Oct. 17, 2014—A magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck Central Visayas in the morning of Oct.15, 2013. (Photo: CBCP News) --With many infrastructures still down a year after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, a Catholic priest laments Bohol has yet to undergo serious rehabilitation works. Fr. Anton CT Pascual, Caritas Manila executive director, who was in the Visayan island-province Wednesday, Oct.15 to express solidarity with survivors of the earthquake, confirmed over Church-run Radyo Veritas that there is still much to be done there.

“It is sad most of what I have seen in terms of structures is temporary,” he said. While minor repairs are ongoing, especially in St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral, Pascual noted the heritage churches of which Bohol takes so much pride in are still in pieces, because of the many requirements needed before reconstruction could proceed. According to him, Church and State should work hand-in-hand in restoring and preserving these national cultural treasures. Many of them date to as far back as the 16th century and have always been centers of pilgrimage, the priest stressed. * READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

The Bohol quake a year after and the ruins left behind


Church of Our Lady of Light, Loon Bohol under renovation after being heavily damaged by the October 15 earthquake that struck the province a year ago. INQUIRER/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

MANILA, OCTOBER 20, 2014 (INQUIRER) On Oct. 15, 2013 at 8:12 a.m., a 7.5 earthquake, the deadliest in 23 years, devastated the provinces of Bohol and Cebu, killing 222 people and leaving in ruins centuries-old churches. Heavily damaged were the Church of San Pedro Apostol in Loboc, Church of Our Lady of Light in Loon, the Santisima Trinidad Parish in Loay, Our Lady of Immaculate Conception in Baclayon, Our Lady of Assumption Church in Dauis, St. Isidore the Farmer Church in Tubigon and the Santa Cruz Church in Maribojoc.

Lest we forget, the Inquirer presents a photo essay of these churches, their old structures outlined on acetate and overlapped with new photographs taken a year after the devastation.


A year after: Church of Our Lady of Light, Loon Bohol. INQUIRER/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZ


Baclayon church under renovation after being heavily damaged by the October 15 earthquake that struck the province a year ago. INQUIRER/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZ


A year after: Baclayon church. INQUIRER/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZ


Dauis chucrch after being heavily damaged by the October 15 earthquake that occured in the province 1 year ago. INQUIRER/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZ


A year after: Dauis Church. INQUIRER/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZ


Tubigon church after being heavily damaged by the October 15 earthquake that occurred in the province 1 year ago. INQUIRER/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZ


A year after: Tubigon church INQUIRER/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZ


Loboc church after being heavily damaged by the October 15 earthquake that occured in the province 1 year ago. INQUIRER/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZ


A year after: Loboc church INQUIRER/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZ


Loay church after being heavily damaged by the October 15 earthquake that occured in the province 1 year ago. INQUIRER/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZ


A year after: Loay church INQUIRER/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

Bells to ring in Bohol churches at 8:12 a.m. Wednesday By Carmel Loise Matus |Inquirer Visayas1:29 am | Wednesday, October 15th, 2014


SILENTNOMORE A church bell is seen in front of the ruins of Our Lady of the Lights Church in Loon.

MARIBOJOC, Bohol—For the first time in a year, the church bells of Holy Cross Parish will ring at exactly 8:12 a.m. today, Wednesday, for 33 seconds.

But the 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, other church 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 province last year.

“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.

Reminder to all

“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 Holy Cross Parish, where only the statue of Christ the King now stands. The two others were Our Lady of Light Church in Loon town and St. Michael Parish Church in Clarin town.

Seven bells

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 3 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 (galvanized iron) 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.

Special holiday

Malacańang has declared Oct. 15 a special nonworking holiday in the province.

After the ringing of the bells, Bishop Leonardo Medroso of the Diocese of Tagbilaran will hold a Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral for the quake victims.

Bohol 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 open in Sta. Monica Parish convent in Alburquerque town.

A commemoration program will be held at 4 p.m. at CPG Sports Complex in Tagbilaran.

Slowly but surely

Slowly but surely, Bohol is bouncing back from quake.

Maribojoc Mayor Leoncio Evasco Jr. has learned an important lesson during the devastating earthquake that hit Bohol last year: Do not rely on the national government for help.

“We will rise even without them,” he told the Inquirer.

He said the only aid his town had received from a national agency was the Emergency Housing Assistance Program given by the National Housing Authority (NHA) for the quake victims.

Each of the 3,347 families whose houses were destroyed has received P10,000 worth of housing materials from the NHA.

Evasco said that up to now, families were still waiting for the P5.2-million Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which he was told was being processed.

Good thing nongovernment organizations, private groups and concerned individuals have stepped in and helped, especially in areas where government support was lacking.

They even helped clear the debris and gave shelter to those displaced.

Private help

Several Boholanos also didn’t wait for the government to help, and either repaired or rebuilt their houses themselves.

As of Sept. 30, data from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) showed that of the 95,884 families whose houses were destroyed or damaged, 29,760 were able to repair their houses using the ESA.
A total of 2,716 others rebuilt their houses on their own.

At least 38,801 families were able to repair their houses using the materials given by the NHA, the data showed.

At least 14,899 families were able to repair their houses with the help of private groups. Help for 2,438 others is still undergoing a revalidation process to see if they could receive permanent shelter.

Permanent shelters

A total of 1,575 families are now living in permanent shelters provided by the private sector.

The construction of 5,367 permanent shelters funded by the DSWD and Habitat for Humanity of the Philippines is ongoing.

Hardest hit

PDRRMC data also showed that 4,358 families are living in temporary or transitional houses provided by the private groups.

Each transitional house has a floor area of 10 square meters. Its floors are made of bamboo while the walls are of amakan, or bamboo matting, and the roof is made of nipa.

At least 200 families from Loon—the hardest-hit municipality—still live in bunkhouses provided by the Philippine Ports Authority.

Some government agencies have used their existing funds for repairs while waiting for financial assistance from the national government to arrive.

Two steel bridges were put up to temporarily replace those that collapsed.

Signs of recovery

The Department of Health used its funds to retrofit a portion of the Congressman Natalio Castillo Memorial Hospital in Loon so it can serve the municipality and other towns.

The Department of Education (DepEd) has used its quick response fund and savings to repair and rebuild a number of classrooms.

With the help of the private sector and other donors, the DepEd only has to build 132 classrooms out of 1,260 destroyed. At least 705 classrooms have yet to be repaired.

Chatto said the province had not fully recovered but traces of recovery could already be seen.

Chatto said it would take time before his province’s request for P12 billion in rehabilitation funds could be released.

But he said he had been regularly writing to Cabinet members to ask for updates.

In the meantime, the province is looking for relocation sites for families still in temporary shelters.

Relocation site

The provincial government, in partnership with the DSWD and Habitat for Humanity Philippines, is targeting to build 8,083 permanent shelters.

The relocation site has to be certified by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau as safe for occupancy after several sinkholes emerged following the quake.

Finding a relocation site may not be all that easy, officials said.

The provincial government is also working to return the tourism industry to its pre-earthquake level by adding more tourist attractions.

The provincial government has included in its tour packages pictures of the ruins of the old churches as well as those of unique geological sites that emerged after the earthquake.


DAMAGED HERITAGE The stairs of a national heritage site in Loon, Bohol province, have yet to be repaired one year after it was damaged by 7.2-magnitude earthquake. PHOTOS BY LITOTECSON/CEBU DAILY NEWS

Tour operators resumed educational tours for students in the last week of August.

Tourist arrivals

The provincial government is also exploring the possibility of developing an ecotour package for each town in order to boost tourist arrivals.

One is Anda town, a fifth-class municipality 99 kilometers from Tagbilaran. It has a 2-km white sand beach and crystal clear water and an island where tourists can go spelunking, swimming, explore the mangrove forests, or just commune with nature.

According to provincial tourism officer Josephine Cabarrus, tourism arrivals in Bohol have slowly risen from a low of 60,602 in the last quarter of 2013 to 92,040 arrivals in the second quarter this year.

But it is still below the pre-earthquake level of 240,505 from January to June 2013 alone.

Rescue unit

Despite the devastation, the earthquake has allowed local officials to see the gaps in responding to calamities, according to Alfonso Damalerio, provincial administrator.

Aside from regular earthquake drills held down to the purok levels, the province has put up an incident command system integrationť to ensure a smooth and comprehensive reporting of damage assessment from each local government unit.

Different agencies have strengthened their disaster preparedness plans. The province has also identified relief and evacuation centers in case another quake strikes.

Their rescue unit, Tarsier 117 (Telephone and Radio System Integrated Emergency Response), underwent training with American troops during the RP-US Balikatan Exercises on urban search and rescue held in Cebu last May.

Resilient and united

Damalerio said Boholanos were resilient and united, which would make recovery much easier.

He said that after the quake, their battle cry had become “Padayon Bol-anon ug padayon Bohol (Move forward Boholanos and move forward Bohol).”

Slowly but surely, Bohol has.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

33 seconds of terror recalled in Bohol by Mars W. Mosqueda Jr. October 16, 2014 Share this:


7.2 – All lit up by candles, 7.2 pertains to the magnitude of the devastating earthquake that ravaged Bohol on October 15, 2013. Boholanos commemorated the first year since it struck, starting with an ecumenical prayer vigil at the Rizal Park in Tagbilaran Tuesday night as part of the “Oktubre Kinse Earthquake Memorial.”

Tagbilaran City, Bohol – The bells at the St. Joseph Cathedral in Tagbilaran City rang for 33 seconds at exactly 8:12 a.m. yesterday. Outside the church, sirens of police cars and ambulances were turned on for exactly the same number of seconds.

On the same day last year, Boholanos woke up to the shaking of grounds when the 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the province. The horror brought about by the earthquake lasted for 33 long seconds, toppling centuries-old churches, leveling concrete houses, destroying bridges and roads, and killing at least 200 people. It happened exactly at 8:12 a.m.

“It was the longest 33 seconds of my entire life,” said Mamerto Maghanoy, a 63-year-old Boholano who cheated death by jumping off the window of his house before it was razed to the ground.

Yesterday, the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake, thousands of Boholanos were gathered to hear mass inside the St. Joseph Cathedral in the capital city. In other towns, masses were also held to commemorate the tragic day.

When the first bell rang at 8:12 a.m., everyone inside the church sat or stood quietly in attention. The chitchats turned to deafening silence. Everyone knew that it was on the same day and the same time last year that the earthquake struck the province.

As the ringing went on, people started wiping their tears, others closed their eyes apparently to recall what happened to them a year ago. Outside, ambulances and police cars turned on their sirens, parked vehicles blew their horns.

“We are gathered here in order to celebrate… not the destruction of our houses nor the deaths of our loved ones but to celebrate the love of God, which made us stand up again and go through all the challenges brought about by the calamity,” said Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Medroso in his homily.

* Medroso urged Boholanos to face the future with courage and brave heart after the year-long test of faith has passed by.

Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto also announced, for the first time, that Bohol has already risen from the tragic event that struck the province last year and that the Boholanos have moved on.

“Let us all thank the people who helped us and continue to help us and those who made it possible for Bohol to rise again… we have already risen… now we are ready to say that Bohol has moved on,” Chatto said.

Chatto especially thanked Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino, who was in Bohol for the first anniversary of the earthquake. It was the MMDA that first sent a rescue and retrieval team just hours after the tremor.

“Today, we can still count and recall the many damages, the deaths, as well as the psycho social impact of the incident that happened last year. While tragic, many beautiful things came out of the event, it produced the best of the Boholanos and the best of the Filipinos. But please let us all pray and ask God that it will not happen again,” Chatto said.

Before the mass was ended, the projector near the altar presented a slideshow of the destruction caused by the earthquake. A list of the names of those who perished was flashed on the screen.

“Some of them were my neighbors,” said Manong Mamerto, a native of Loon town, the hardest hit municipality.

Bells, sirens, alarms fill Bohol air ‘to celebrate God’s love’ By Ador Vicent Mayol, Carmel Loise Matus |Inquirer Visayas3:29 am | Thursday, October 16th, 2014


POSTED OCTOBER 16, 2014: At exactly 8:12 a.m. yesterday, at least a thousand Catholic devotees stood in silence for about a minute in the middle of the Mass at the pilgrim center of the Basilica Minore de Sto. Nińo in downtown Cebu City. They then lit candles and offered prayers for the 223 people who died in Bohol and Cebu when the two provinces were rocked by 7.2 magnitude earthquake at 8:12 a.m. of Oct. 15, 2013. “Together, we mark this day with prayers of remembrance, of healing and guidance,” said Fr. Jonas Mejares, rector of the basilica who presided over the Mass with concelebrating priests. “The images of the tragedy of Oct. 15, 2013 are still so vivid in our minds and senses. As we look back, we remember the lives of those who died so tragically,” he added. INQUIRER PHOTO

TAGBILARAN CITY, Philippines—Sounds of bells pealing, sirens and alarms filled the air at 8:12 a.m. on Wednesday to commemorate the exact time when a 7.2-magnitude earthquake rocked Bohol and a portion of Cebu, causing deaths and massive destruction.

“I was reminded of last year’s tremor and how fleeting life is. In one instant, everything could be taken from you,” said Janet Villarojo, who was among the 3,000 people attending Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral here. Her house was among those damaged by the tremor in Barangay (village) Mansasa.

Villarojo was teary-eyed when she heard the bells peal before the Mass celebrated by Bishop Leonardo Medroso of the Diocese of Tagbilaran.

In Cebu City, at least 1,000 devotees stood in silence for about a minute at 8:12 a.m. while in the middle of Mass at the pilgrim center of Basilica Minore del Sto. Nińo. They later lit candles and offered prayers for the 223 people who died in Bohol and Cebu.

A Eucharistic celebration was also held at Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral to remember those who died.

Celebrating God’s love

In his homily, Medroso said God had always been with the Boholanos during the time of tragedy. “We have to see behind all of our calamities and tragedies. There is the love of God. We celebrate the love of God,” he said.

Bohol lost three heritage churches—Our Lady of Light Parish Church in Loon town, Holy Cross Parish Church in Maribojoc town, and St. Michael Parish Church in Clarin town—during the quake, but Medroso said what mattered most was the firmer faith of the people.

“Our God has to destroy our material church to see the importance of the living Church—you and me,” he said.

* Despite the tragedy, Medroso said the Boholanos showed their generosity when they donated to the victims of Super Typhoon “Yolanda” a month later though they were still reeling from the devastation caused by the temblor.

“These are the people who know how suffering is. Yet, they have given their own food to them (typhoon victims in Leyte),” he added.

Fr. Jonas Mejares, rector of Basilica Minore del Sto. Nińo, celebrated the Mass with a dozen other priests. He urged the faithful in his homily to find meaning in the tragedy.

“Of all places in the world, why did the earthquake hit Cebu or Bohol? Why us? Why did God allow this to happen?” asked Mejares, whose uncle died when Our Lady of Light Church in Loon collapsed.

God is capable of bringing good out of bad instances in life, he said.

“Last year’s earthquake was a wake-up call for us. It has opened our eyes to the many realities of life. It has reminded us of death, that everything in this world is passing, and that there is nobody more significant than God,” he said.

God’s ways not our ways

“The earthquake … was a test of faith. Let us be reminded that God’s ways are not our ways, and that His plans are not our plans. We cannot fully understand God. Our brain cells are not enough to understand Him. But we know that He’s one with us in our sufferings,” he said.

Although the basilica lost its centuries-old belfry during the quake, Mejares found it a miracle that no one was hurt when it crumbled. “You know how many people gather in front of the basilica every day. Until the rubble was removed, I could not believe that no one was badly hurt,” he said.

In Bohol, the names of those who died were flashed on a television screen inside St. Joseph Cathedral during the prayer for the dead that followed after the Mass offerings.

Best in Boholanos

Gov. Edgar Chatto said the quake brought the best in the Boholanos out. “As a united people, together with the religious faithful of Bohol and other religious groups, we are one in praying that this will not happen again. Our faith has been strengthened after the event,” he said.

“We thank the people who helped us. Humana ta ug bangon (We have risen). We have already moved on. Padayon, Bohol (Move forward, Bohol),” Chatto said.

Not a single centavo has reached officials; a year after big quake, rehab funds still hanging By Carmel Loise Matus |Inquirer Visayas3:13 am | Tuesday, October 14th, 2014


SOLID FAITH This is how the historic Loboc town church looks now, a year after a powerful earthquake struck Bohol province and heavily damaged or destroyed hundreds of houses and dozens of churches. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

SAGBAYAN, Bohol—For eight months, local officials and employees had to hold office inside tents after the strongest earthquake to hit the province in years left the municipal hall in ruins.

In June, they found relief when they transferred to a makeshift building made of plywood and GI sheets beside a vacant lot where the municipal hall once stood.

The mayor’s office was on the left wing while the vice mayor’s office and session hall were on the right.

At the center were the various departments separated by walls of plywood.

The municipal hall cannot be rebuilt for lack of funds from the national government, said Felito Pon, head of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO).

Sagbayan, the epicenter of the 7.2-magnitude earthquake, was supposed to receive P242 million for the repair of infrastructure, classrooms and houses.

But not a single centavo has reached the local officials—a year after the quake.

Paper work

“A lot of paper work, like detailed engineering design, has delayed the release of funds,” Pon told the Inquirer.

“We really wanted to have them (the rehabilitation funds) earlier,”ť he said. “We are hoping that by the end of this year we can start the repairs.”

None of the 20 damaged municipal and City Halls has been rebuilt a year after the tremor.

These are in Tagbilaran City and the towns of Loon, Cortes, Tubigon, Sagbayan, Antequera, Balilihan, Catigbian, Corella, Maribojoc, Sikatuna, Buenavista, Danao, San Isidro, San Miguel, Candijay, Dimiao, Loay, Pilar, Sevilla and Sierra Bullones.

Funds delayed

Not one of the 15 municipal halls has been repaired. These are Calape, Dauis, Panglao, Clarin, Inabanga, Alburquerque, Baclayon, Dagohoy, Trinidad, Alicia, Batuan, Carmen, Duero, Loboc and Valencia.

The local officials are still waiting for the release of P2.461 billion in rehabilitation funds that were turned over to Gov. Edgar Chatto by Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Budget Secretary Butch Abad on June 6.

* The amount is only about 20 percent of the P12 billion sought by the province in its rehabilitation and recovery plan submitted last January.

Memorandum of agreement

Red tape has further delayed the release of the funds, called Bohol Earthquake Assistance (BEA), under the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

A memorandum of agreement had to be signed first by the chief executives of the 43 towns and city. This was done only on Sept. 22.

The agreement provided that only those local government units capable of conducting rehabilitation would receive funding, according to Ananias Villacorta, DILG director for Central Visayas.

The provincial government would undertake the rehabilitation work for those not capable of doing it, he added.

Getting annoyed

But before the funds would be downloaded to the LGUs, Villacorta said his office had to revalidate first if the program of work and other documents were in proper order.

Mayor Leoncio Evasco Jr. of Maribojoc town said he had been regularly attending the meetings with other town mayors about the BEA. And he was getting irritated.

“Until the last week of September, we were still discussing policies and guidelines [for BEA-DILG funding]. I am annoyed by it,” he said.

However, Mayor Evasco said that despite the slow release of funding from the national government, this had not prevented them from recovering and rehabilitating.

Private groups

“We are still waiting for the funds but we have not prevented private groups and individuals from giving us assistance,” he said.

The provincial government has asked P12 billion from the national government for Bohol to fully recover from the quake.

Rehabilitation plan

Based on the rehabilitation and recovery plan submitted by Bohol government, the province needs P1.598 billion to rebuild/repair houses; P4.988 billion for roads, bridges and water system; P1.183 billion for schools; P680 million for medical facilities and birthing center; P834.77 million for municipal halls, gymnasiums, barangay (village) halls, daycare centers, parks and plazas; P181.16 million for tourism facilities; P864.03 million for ports; P32.88 million for police stations; P7.54 million for women’s desk and other facilities; and P94.62 million for fish ports and and support facilities;

The province also needs to repair irrigation facilities, P53.5 million; state colleges and universities, P133.40 million; fire stations, P11.52 million and historical sites, P736.87 million.

Farmers, too

At least P928.74 million has been requested to help the farmers whose farmlands were damaged by the earthquake.
But funds from the national government haven’t come as fast as expected.

So a year after, repairs on 14 roads, government buildings, hospital and health centers and other facilities have yet to be completed.

Fortunately, the private sector and the Boholanos themselves have stepped up their efforts. They didn’t wait for help from the national government, especially for the construction and repair of houses and classrooms.

Bohol to remember earthquake, people’s unity in rising up again …  By Carmel Loise Matus |Inquirer Visayas9:18 pm | Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Oct. 15 declared a holiday


BACLAYON Church in ruins after the 7.2-magnitude quake that struck Bohol province last year TONEE DESPOJO/CEBU DAILY NEWS

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.

Malacańang 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.

FROM THE CBCP NEWS ONLINE

1 year after Bohol quake: priest sad much still ‘unbuilt’ Filed under: Diocesan News,Headlines |


A magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck Central Visayas in the morning of Oct.15, 2013. (Photo: CBCP News)

TAGBILARAN City, Oct. 17, 2014—With many infrastructures still down a year after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, a Catholic priest laments Bohol has yet to undergo serious rehabilitation works.

Fr. Anton CT Pascual, Caritas Manila executive director, who was in the Visayan island-province Wednesday, Oct.15 to express solidarity with survivors of the earthquake, confirmed over Church-run Radyo Veritas that there is still much to be done there.

“It is sad most of what I have seen in terms of structures is temporary,” he said.

While minor repairs are ongoing, especially in St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral, Pascual noted the heritage churches of which Bohol takes so much pride in are still in pieces, because of the many requirements needed before reconstruction could proceed.

According to him, Church and State should work hand-in-hand in restoring and preserving these national cultural treasures.

Many of them date to as far back as the 16th century and have always been centers of pilgrimage, the priest stressed.

* Besides taking part in the province-wide commemoration of the disaster and the over 200 lives it claimed, Pascual shared his visit also had to do with checking on the livelihood programs and projects Caritas Manila had put in place for Boholanos like the scholarship it had given to 100 students, mostly from the town of Talibon.

“Caritas Manila is working closely with CBCP-NASSA [Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines - National Secretariat for Social Action], Ateneo [de Manila University], and Quiapo Church to provide those affected by the earthquake the means of earning a living such as boats and fishing equipments, water pumps, and agricultural implements,” Pascual said.

The magnitude 7.2 tremor struck Central Visayas in the morning of Oct.15, 2013.

Bohol took the brunt of the disaster which left 200 dead.

It is estimated that some P2.5 billion-worth of infrastructure have either been damaged or been destroyed. (Raymond A. Sebastián)


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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