Monday, July 22, 2019

Pampanga heritage churches to be placed on lockdown

PAMPANGA. Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, together with DPWH Central Luzon Regional Director Joseller Tolentino (2nd from right), Porac Mayor Carling Dela Cruz (2nd from left), Pampanga 2nd District Engineering Office (DEO) DE Gigs Audea (left) and ADE Cecil Laurence Cruz (right) inspect the heavily damaged St. Catherine Church in Porac, Pampanga. (Photo by Chris Navarro)

THE Archdiocesan Committee on Church Heritage in Pampanga recommended the lockdown of all heritage churches in Pampanga.

“Upon consulting our technical experts, the ACCH Secretariat is recommending a lockdown of all heritage churches (no activities inside and cordon off to secure the whole premises) until they are deemed safe. The Technical Secretariat is coordinating with experts and national agencies to assure everyone's safety,” the ACCh said.

Among the heritage churches, Saint Catherine of Alexandria Parish sustained severe damage to its belfry. Only the first floor of the four-story belfry remains while part of the rubble fell on the nave of the church, causing further damage.

Damage was also reported in the heritage churches of Angeles City, Lubao, Minalin and Santa Rita.

At the historic Saint Augustine Parish Church in Lubao town, the brick spire collapsed during the earthquake. The church was declared an Important Cultural Property by the National Museum in 2013.

Nearby Santa Rita de Cascia Church in Santa Rita town also sustained damage to its belfry when large cracks at its top dome showed after the quake. Authorities are still assessing the extent of the damage.

Apung Mamacululu Shrine in Angeles City also sustained minor damage when portions of the concrete covering the nave fell.

Two heritage chapels in Porac town, the Hacienda Dolores chapel and Pio Chapel in Barangays Hacienda Dolores and Pio, also sustained damage.

The belfry of the Saint Catherine of Alexandria Parish collapsed when the earthquake shook parts of this town.

National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) chairman Rene Escalante traveled to Pampanga with a team of heritage conservation and restoration experts to assess the damage to heritage churches in Pampanga.

Meanwhile, nine schools were also damaged by the magnitude 6.1 earthquake, which hit several parts of Luzon on Monday, the Department of Education (DepEd) reported.

In a partial situation report released Tuesday morning, DepEd said nine schools in Bataan, Muntinlupa, Pampanga and Zambales were impaired due to the earthquake.

These are Laukan National High School in Bataan, Mabalacat Elementary School in Mabalacat City, Malusac Elementary School in Pampanga, Pio Elementary School in Pampanga, Camias High School in Pampanga, Subic Central Elementary School in Olongapo City, San Nicolas Integrated School in San Fernando City, Sindalan Elementary School n San Fernando City and Cupang Senior High School in Muntinlupa City.

Most of them had collapsed perimeter fences and pathways and damaged buildings and corridors.

Meanwhile, cracks were found in 20 classrooms of Cupang Senior High School, which is located at the second to fourth floors of the Pagcor Building.

The DepEd released a memorandum for the thorough and immediate inspection of school and office buildings and facilities.

DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said classes were suspended Tuesday in all National Capital Region (NCR) public schools.

"(The) school year 2018 to 2019 already ended April 5, however, there are still some school activities ongoing. We have instructed the NCR regional director to suspend these for today," he said.


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