We’re caught unaware, says priest in collapse of Bulacan church floor

Termite damage which weakened the wood of the St. Peter the Apostle Church in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan is being looked at as the main cause of the mezzanine falling in the middle of mass on Ash Wednesday.

According to Joseph Morong’s report on “24 Oras,” parish priest Fr. Romulo Perez indicated that church officials didn’t expect the second floor to fall down.

“We were caught unaware. Papatanggal ko na lahat ito. Ito nga sabi ko bubuksan lahat ito,” said St. Peter the Apostle Church Parish Priest, Rev. Romulo Perez.

(We will remove all these. I said we should open it all.)

City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) head Gina Ayson said that the second floor, made of wood, collapsed as people lined up to mark on their foreheads.

One person died, while 52 others were injured in the incident. Victims suffered minor injuries such as bruises and shoulder pain.

The local government of San Jose del Monte City has mandated the temporary closure of the church pending the assessment of the city engineering and building officials.

“Tingnan na mabuti, yung structural, tas ‘yung existing naming mga lumang simbahan, tingnan na ulit kung talagang pwede siyang pagmisahan,“ said San Jose del Monte, Bulacan Mayor Arthur Robles.

(We have to check the structure and the existing old churches, and see if they can hold mass.)

The city government will shoulder all of the victims’ medical expenses.

The mayor identified the person who died in the incident as 80-year-old Luneta Morales, who did not survive the injuries she sustained when the second floor of the church collapsed.

According to a victim, Geen Cruz, who was on the second floor of the church. She said there were many people lining up to be marked with ash on their foreheads.

“Ay ang dami! Andami! Mamaya-maya, gumanyan. Basta bang! May humatak sa akin, dugong dugo na nga ang mukha nya, hinatak nya akong palabas,” she said.

(There are so many. Later on, it suddenly collapsed. Someone pulled me; he had a lot of blood on his face; he pulled me to get out.) —Sherylin Untalan/NB, GMA Integrated News

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