Churches in a Bicol archdiocese are looking into tougher safety measures to protect congregations from earthquakes and other natural disasters, CBCP News reported April 24, 2019.
Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona of Caceres said recent earthquakes that hit parts of the country are “wake up calls” and that the time to prepare is now.
“I enjoin you dear parish priests and heads of institutions to initiate periodic inspection of the structural integrity of our churches, seminaries and ‘conventos’, especially our old historical churches, conventos, and buildings,” Tirona said.
The archbishop also cited the series of terror attacks in Sri Lanka as urgent calls for the church “to remain vigilant and ever conscious of the parishioners’ safety.
“Without causing undue panic and confusion, I enjoin you, dear pastors, to put in place security measures in your respective Churches to protect our faithful and to ensure peaceful liturgical celebrations,” he said.
According to him, the archdiocese will partner with structural and security experts to help them safeguard the parishioners and preserve their cultural heritage.
“We must always ensure the safety of our churchgoers, and be pro-active in safeguarding our churches and the faithful against human violence and natural calamities,” Tirona added.
On April 22, a powerful temblor jolted Central Luzon that claimed at least 16 lives and damaged properties and old churches.
The next day, a 6.5 magnitude earthquake caused injuries and damages to properties in Samar and Leyte provinces. The tremors were also felt as far as Cebu and some parts of Bicol region.
On April 24, twin earthquakes struck waters off Davao Oriental and Davao Occidental provinces minutes apart.