Parish priest destroys Spanish-era church walls, 20 trees in Tubungan, Iloilo | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Tubungan church
TUBUNGAN church facade
Tubungan church
TUBUNGAN church facade

What was not completely destroyed by World War II and the powerful “Lady Caycay” earthquake of 1948 was finished off in just a matter of months by the parish priest of Tubungan town in Iloilo province.

Portions of the remaining walls of the 19th-century Augustinian church of San Antonio Abad (Saint Anthony the Abbot) were demolished ostensibly to give way to a renovation project by Fr. Ricardo Iniego.

According to parishioners, Father Iniego was appointed in November 2014 and started the demolition in May 2015. The demolition is ongoing as the construction of the new church—in concrete—is being made right in the ruins of the old church.

The “renovation” is being carried out along with another project of constructing a concrete plaza at the back of the church, which resulted in the cutting of more than 20 trees, said a resident.

Photos of the destruction are shared here by the parishioners with Inquirer Lifestyle.

The destruction at Tubungan followed the controversial excavation by treasure hunters of the Catholic cemetery in San Joaquin town in the same province.

Tubungan church
DEMOLISHED portion on the left side wall
Tubungan church
DEMOLISHED right wall

The diggings were allowed by the parish priest, Fr. Nelson Silvela, and they compromised the integrity of the mortuary chapel, said to be the best-kept among Spanish-era cemetery chapels in Panay.

The National Museum said it would file charges against Father Silvela and the diggers for violating the National Heritage Law of 2009, since the mortuary chapel had been declared a National Cultural Treasure by the Philippine government only last December.

Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said Father Silvela had gone on leave and been replaced.

Tubungan church
DEMOLISHED stones on church grounds
Tubungan church
RIGHT-SIDE wall entrance with winged-angel relief
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