Pampanga’s old churches closed after quake
Cracks were seen on the Sta. Monica Parish Church and convent in Minalin, Pampanga following a strong earthquake that hit several parts of Luzon on April 22. PHOTO FROM STA. MONICA PARISH CHURCH MINALIN FACEBOOK PAGE
By Roy Lagarde
April 23, 2019
Several old churches in Pampanga province have been closed following a strong earthquake that jolted parts of Luzon on Monday.
The Archdiocese of San Fernando said that at least 24 heritage churches will be off limits to give way to inspections after a 6.1 magnitude tremor.
The archdiocese’s Committee on Cultural Heritage said no activities would be allowed inside the churches “until they are deemed safe”.
“The Technical Secretariat is coordinating with experts and national agencies to assure everyone’s safety,” it said.
Pampanga is home to many historic churches, and most are considered as national treasures for their history and beauty.
So far, the archdiocese reported that only the parish churches in Lubao and Porac had suffered major damages.
Churches in Angeles, Sta. Rita, Guagua, and Betis, meanwhile, were reported to have sustained some cracks.
The tremor left at least 16 people dead and 26 others were listed missing, most of whom were residents of Porac.
Catholic bishops have expressed their sorrow and promised their prayers for the victims and their families.
“We pray especially for the grieving people, who have lost dear ones in the earthquake, and we hope recovery and help would come to these people,” said Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the Philippine bishops’ conference.
“We pray that those injured and lost properties will be comforted, and that help will come,” he said.
The Davao archbishop also lauded rescue workers, who were immediately on hand to provide aid to others.
“We would like to note also the work of those who went to rescue and helped those people in the damage areas,” he said.
In Manila, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle ordered the inspection of all church facilities in the archdiocese.
He also directed church officials to undergo refresher activities on safety drills.
“The procedures taught at earthquake drills should be reviewed with the community. We pray for the safety of all,” said Tagle.
In the wake of the strong quake that hit northern Philippines, another powerful temblor was recorded in Visayas on Tuesday.
The 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck Eastern Samar, and was also felt in Samar, Northern Samar, Leyte and parts of Bicol region.