Priest to quake victims: ‘Keep the faith’-A A +A
Monday, October 28, 2013
CLARIN, Bohol -- Beside the ruins of St. Michael the Archangel Church, a bare wooden structure stands on the basketball court.
Its roof is made of waterproof canvas. A crucifix is attached to the wall behind the altar.
The parish priest said it is the chapel, still being built, 12 days after the magnitude-7.2 quake destroyed the church.
The chapel, said Rev. Fr. Johnson Inte, is a symbol of resilience of Clarinians.
“Di lang gyod mawagtangan og pagtuo ang mga tawo. Kung naa nang pagtuo ug paglaom, magpabilin gyod ang Simbahan (The people should not lose their faith. If they still have the faith and hope, the Church remains),” he said.
Before Inte closed the mass by telling the faithful not to be dependent on relief goods Sunday morning, a musician played the closing song on his keyboard.
At least 100 parishioners joined in the singing. They brought their own chairs with them, while some opted to stand during the one-hour mass that started at 6 a.m.
“Kinahanglan gyod kitang mobangon, kinahanglan kitang maningkamot. Kinahanglan kitang mo-move on, ug kinahanglan kitang manikaysikay (We should rise, we should continue our endeavors, we should move on and we should work),” said Inte. “Kanang relief goods kay dili sa hangtud. Dili lagi ta pasagdan sa Ginoo sa pagbarog (Relief goods are not for forever. God will never abandon us).”
A team from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) explained to the churchgoers the nature of the earthquake last week after the mass. They gave leaflets about the do’s and don’ts during a tremor.
Inte said they started to build the chapel last Saturday and he hopes they can finish it next month. He already received pledges of financial support for the church’s rebuilding.
St. Michael the Archangel was destroyed by the earthquake last October 15. Its façade still stands, but it has cracks.
The San Pedro Church in Loboc, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church in Baclayon, San Isidro Labrador Church in Tubigon, Our Lady of Light in Loon, and San Cruz Church in Maribojoc were also leveled by the tremor.
Jes Tirol, an earthquake engineer and historian, said he had been writing and lecturing about the need to strengthen the churches in Bohol.
“Unfortunately, the funding was used only to beatify and ‘restore’ the churches,” he said in his column in the Bohol Chronicle.
He added: “The Phivolcs says that the source of the earthquake was the East-Bohol Fault. Sometime in year 2001 or 2002, this particular fault exhibited a long crack in the town of Loboc, Bohol. My warning was just dismissed by the government agencies because according to them it was just ‘land subsidence.’ I disagreed to this observation because a land subsidence would not cross the Loboc River, which the crack did. Unfortunately again I was just too far ahead by 10 years.”
“The fault line is ‘sloping towards the northwest or generally towards Cebu.’ The ‘earth block’ is pushing or compressing the rocks towards the northwest,” said Tirol.
A source told him that an unofficial land spreading measurement was recently done using a Global Positioning System (GPS).
“The measurement was done between Kamambogan, Ubay, Bohol and Poblacion Alicia, Bohol. The measurement from January 2012 to January 2013 yields a land spreading of 2.5 cm. So when the East Bohol fault cracked 10 years ago until the present, we can assume a total spreading of 25 cm or 10 inches. Unfortunately, the vertical rise of the ground was not measured. Nonetheless, it can be shown that there was already land spreading that was already capable of pushing and activating the unknown fault line,” said Tirol.
He said the Southeast Asia Association of Seismology and Earthquake Engineering publication has a record of a 1936 earthquake with epicenter in Carmen.
“This particular earthquake was described as ‘strange.’ It was a strong earthquake that exhibited a strong up and down movement, which was strange during that time because everybody believed only in the lateral movement of earthquakes. It was proposed that it was caused by the collapse of a large sinkhole,” said Tirol.
The quake last October 15, he said, was also strange because it was the first time that a fault line has exhibited itself from Loon, Bohol toward Central Bohol. This fault line is a “thrust fault” or the East Bohol Fault dived under this fault line.
“My theory is, this fault line is somehow connected to the Tayasan, Negros Oriental earthquake that occurred on February 6, 2012. The Tayasan earthquake epicenter has a latitude 9.82 north and the new crack has also latitude of 9.8 to 9.84 north. They are of the same level. This is another statement that will put me in a controversy,” said Tirol.
The construction of St. Michael the Archangel started in 1924 under Cebu Archbishop Juan P. Gorordo. Bohol then was still part of the Archdiocese of Cebu, according Clarin Municipal Government’s official website.
Gorordo created the parish in 1922. On October 31, it will celebrate the feast of their second patroness, the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.
The church was inaugurated on September 29, 1960 by Rev. Fr. Sebastian Valleser, who was under Bishop Manuel Mascariñas, then Bishop of Tagbilaran.
For parishioner Patricia Cabahug, 65, she said she cannot stand seeing the church’s debris.
“Luoy kayo among simbahan (Our church looks pitiful),” she said. “Pero lig-on among pagtuo ug gugma sa Ginoo (But our faith and love for God is strong).” (KAL/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 28, 2013.