• P3.5B needed to restore Bohol landmarks

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    Nearly P3.5 billion will be needed for the restoration of the churches ruined by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake, including the watchtowers and the historical capitol building in Bohol.

    Officials of the Catholic Church, National Museum (NM), National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), and the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), will do the retrieval, recovery, and documentation and salvage operations of damaged churches for the pre-restoration phase.

    Fr. Milan Ted Torralba, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Committee for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, said the pre-restoration phase needs at least P96-million, cited by the NCCA—the government’s policy making, coordinating and grants-giving body for culture and the arts in the Philippines.

    “On Tuesday [November 5] we will begin with the retrieval, recovery, documentation and salvage operations of the cultural materials from the Church ruins,” Torralba said.

    “They [Churches ruins] are also considered archaeological sites . . . they are still considered cultural materials even with the destruction, whatever’s left are still cultural materials; blocks, retablos and paintings,” he added.

    For the restoration phase, the Church needs P80 million to P100 million for each 10 ruined churches, or a total of about P3.5 billion, which covers the restoration of the watchtowers and the capitol building.

    The Capitol building in Bohol was built in the 1850s and was considered historical by the government including the watchtowers, Torralba said.

    Meanwhile, the pre-restoration or the first phase will be done first in Loon, Loboc and Maribojoc churches, which will last for a year.

    The experts will also conduct detailed engineering studies and soil boring to determine its stability.

    “They will do the soil boring to test or to determine the stability of the soil if it can still bear the structural payload so that the church can still be rebuilt on the same site,” Torralba disclosed.

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