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Cebu guv reiterates return of church’s wooden panel

CEBU CITY: Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on Tuesday asked the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) for the return of the four 19th-century wooden panels belonging to the Patrocinio de Maria Parish Church in Boljoon, in southern Cebu.

In a letter addressed to NMP Director General Jeremy Barns dated Feb. 26, 2024, a copy of which was posted on the provincial government’s official Facebook page on Tuesday, the governor urged the NMP ‘to initiate prompt and right return of these panels,’ referring to the four intricately carved wooden panels of a pulpit.

Garcia said the panels that were removed from the church in the 1980s and were recently donated to the NMP hold immense cultural and religious significance to the community.

The church in Boljoon is a duly declared National Historical Landmark.

‘These panels are not simply works of art; they are irreplaceable symbols of faith, heritage, and history deeply woven into the fabric of our community. Their presence within the church pulpit is crucial to mainta
ining the church’s religious significance and cultural integrity,’ she said.

The municipality of Boljoon has passed a resolution, petitioning for the return of the religious artifacts, and the Provincial Board passed a similar resolution last Feb. 19.

Last week, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma issued a statement calling for the return of the panels to the church in Boljoon.

Source: Philippines News Agency