Several churches in the central Philippine province of Bohol that were damaged by a strong earthquake in 2013 have already been restored.
Father Milan Ted Torralba of the diocese’s Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church said 21 of the 25 churches have already been repaired while the four others are expected to be completed next year.
The priest said the restoration work of the remaining churches would have been completed this year if not for the coronavirus pandemic.
He said the original plan was to rebuild and restore all the churches by this year in preparation for the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines next year.
“But the pace went slow because of the pandemic, so they move the date to next year,” said Father Torralba, executive secretary of the bishops’ Commission on Cultural Heritage of the Church.
The Tagbilaran diocese is also celebrating its 80th anniversary in November 2021.
The priest said 11 of the 25 churches were restored with the help of the government’s national calamity-related reconstruction and restoration program.
These were the structures declared by the government’s cultural agencies as national cultural treasures, national historical landmark, and important cultural properties.
American Catholic bishops also helped in the repair of some churches, especially those not in the list of heritage structures and did not receive government support.
The restored churches are in the towns of Baclayon, Alburquerque, Loay, Dimiao, Dauis, Panglao, Cortes, Valencia, Garcia-Hernandez, Tubigon, Balilihan, Corella, Clarin, Calape, Lila, Sikatuna, Catigbian, Sevilla, Sagbayan, Batuan, Tagbilaran.
Meanwhile, the churches whose restoration works are ongoing are in the parishes of Loboc, Maribojoc, Loon, and Antequera.
A 7.2-magnitude earthquake on Oct. 15, 2013, also damaged nine churches in the Diocese of Talibon, located in the northern part of Bohol island. All of the churches are already restored.