Churchyard project put on hold after NCCA letter

SANTA RITA -- The beautification project for the churchyard of Santa Rita de Cascia Parish here has been put on hold after the letter of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) calling on parish officials to put a stop on the project pending a dialogue with the latter.

The Parish Pastoral Council of Santa Rita has put a stop to the project just before Holy Week and construction has not resumed since. Information from sources here said that the parish priest will soon discuss the project with the NCCA.

NCCA chairman Felipe de Leon, in his March 16 letter to Archbishop Florentino Lavarias D.D. has called for a conference regarding the project.

The NCCA said that the church is an Important Cultural Property according to section 5(1) of Republic Act 100066, or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.

The Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) of Santa Rita and Parish Priest Monsignor Abelardo Basilio initiated the project since February and was visited by Archbishop Lavarias twice.

The PPC also met in a conference with Auxiliary Bishop Pablo David to discuss the said project and incorporate suggestions from the Archdiocese's own heritage committee.

A priest privy to the discussions said that the belated letter of the NCCA is yet another political move against the town's parish priest. Basilio has been the subject of criticism on a Facebook account put up by his critics.

Archbishop Emeritus Paciano Aniceto had formerly called on the administrators of the account to cease from their attacks but his appeal was unheeded.

The Facebook page against Basilio has been brought to the attention of Lavarias recently.

Meanwhile, the PPC, according to one source, are not doing full concreting of the churchyard but merely adding additional walkways and grass lawns.

The only fully concertized portion of the project is the parking area at the right side of the church, the source added.

Information gathered by Sun.Star Pampanga reveal that concreting projects on the said churchyard were first implemented under the stint of former parish priest Monsignor Eugene Reyes.

Reyes also initiated the gravel paving of the patio.
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