FIVE Boholanos who survived the magnitude 7.2 earthquake on Oct. 15, 2013 will have the chance to dine with Pope Francis who is expected to visit calamity-hit areas in the country next year.
Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto announced last Tuesday that he is coordinating with Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Medroso in choosing the five earthquake survivors.
But he said he also hopes that the Pope will include Bohol in his itinerary in January 2015.
The Vatican said Pope Francis will visit Tacloban City in Leyte to meet with typhoon Yolanda survivors.
“His (Pope’s) visit would inspire some of our constituents who are still recovering from the earthquake,” Chatto said. He said that if the Vatican cannot include Bohol, Boholanos would be contented to be part of the pope’s prayers.
Chatto led the rest of Bohol in marking the first anniversary of the earthquake yesterday.
One of the activities to commemorate the event was a noise barrage participated in by private vehicles, police cars, firetrucks and ambulances. Churches, whose belfries are still intact, tolled their bells for 33 seconds starting at 8:12 a.m. to mark the event.
Twenty-five churches in Bohol, including those recognized for their heritage value, were destroyed or damaged by the earthquake. The earthquake also destroyed 12 churches in Cebu, including the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño.
During the commemoration mass at the St. Joseph Cathedral in Tagbilaran City, Medroso said the earthquake emphasized the importance of the faithful.
“We thank the Lord that our churches were destroyed, because we finally saw the importance of the Living Church, its people,” he said.
Medroso noted that despite their loss during the earthquake, Boholanos reached out to help typhoon Yolanda survivors in Yolanda.
“Even though they needed help, they opted to help others,” he said.
In his message, Chatto said the earthquake taught Boholanos to further improve their resilience and disaster preparedness.
He reminded his constituents that the time for grief is over. “Bohol has finally moved on. Padayon, Bohol,” he said.
Chatto led other government officials in the groundbreaking of the site for a proposed earthquake memorial in Banat-i Hill.