ST. MARY’S Cathedral in Marawi City, which was damaged by the war between government forces and ISIS-inspired groups last year, will soon be demolished, Marawi Bishop Edwin dela Pena confirmed in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news website on Saturday.
“We will rebuild the cathedral but only after they have rebuilt their city and their Masjids,” said the Catholic prelate, who was recently at ground zero for the second time since the conflict was declared over in October last year.
“For the meantime, we focus our energies on rebuilding communities,” de la Pena said.
The scheduled demolition of the 84-year-old Cathedral and the residence will be decided by the bishop.
Dela Pena said his visit only lasted for about 20 minutes, noting that the military did not allow them to stay longer for security reasons.
The bishops who joined the Catholic prelate included Severo Caermare of Dipolog, Angelito Lampon of Jolo, Julius Tonel of Ipil, Emmanuel Cabajar of Pagadian, archbishops Martin Jumoad of Ozamiz and Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro, and Fr. Jose Roel Casas, administrator of Isabela prelature.
The church will be among the structures to be demolished by the government since they are no longer structurally sound.
The leveling of damaged structures and clearing of debris is set to begin this June — a process that may take up to 10 months.
Church-based organizations such as Duyog Marawi, and the Aid to the Church in Need Philippines have launched their respective campaigns to help rebuild the war-torn city.
The Marawi siege, which erupted on May 23, had claimed over a thousand lives, and displaced about half a million people.
At least P51.6 billion is needed to rebuild Marawi and adjacent areas, based on the government’s estimate.