Church officials hope to finish belfry restoration by next year

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014


OFFICIALS of the Augustinian Recollects hope to restore the damaged belfry of the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño by January next year in preparation for the 450th anniversary of the Kaplag, or the finding of the image of the Holy Child in Cebu.

Fr. Harold Rentoria, chairman of the Commission on Augustinian Cultural Heritage, said in a press conference that they want the damaged belfry restored before Jan. 19, 2015.

The belfry was damaged by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Cebu and Bohol last year.

Architect Melva Java of the University of San Carlos (USC) Conservation Heritage Research Institute and Workshop, said that before restoration of the damaged belfry can start, stakeholders must consider restoring the structure without tampering with the religious and historical aspects of the structure.

In a press conference held at the Basilica yesterday, Rentoria said that as of now, he and members of the reconstruction committee are gathering data the reconstruction of the belfry.

Rentoria said they are done with phase 1 of the reconstruction, which was the removal of debris.

Restoria said they have also started an ocular inventory on the remains of the damaged belfry.

He said they are seeking help from different consultants, including architects from Spain and Japan, on how to come up with a master plan on how to restore the belfry.

Representatives of the Escuela Taller de Intramuros and National Historical Commission and the National Commission on Culture and Arts (NCCA) are also helping in the restoration efforts.

Restoria said they expect to come up with a design for the restoration by February or March.

For Java, collecting and consolidating data on the damaged belfry is an important step. She said reconstruction may take time as it has to undergo several procedures.

Java said she and other heritage architects in charge of restoring the belfry have been discussing how to go about the project.

Java urged the Cebu City Government to protect the church’s facade by minimizing traffic vibrations along the structure.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 08, 2014.

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