Philippines 'saddened, bothered' by Notre-Dame fire

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippines voiced its grief on Tuesday, April 16, after a fire hit the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, as the nation sent its solidarity with the people of France.

"The Palace is deeply saddened and bothered by the fire that hit the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France," said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

Panelo described the Notre-Dame Cathedral as "an architectural treasure" and "symbol of Catholicism." 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of France as well as in solidarity with the rest of the world for this heartbreaking incident. We wish the French nation all the best as they undertake efforts to rebuild this great monument in Paris restored to its majestic sight," Panelo said.

A colossal fire on Monday evening, April 15, caused the spire of the historic edifice to crash to the ground and wiped out centuries of heritage.

Up to 400 firefighters battled to control the fire and save at least its iconic front towers. They finally gained the upper hand as midnight approached.

Vowing to rebuild the cathedral, French President Emmanuel Macron said that "the worst had been avoided."

The community of the Manila Cathedral – which had been destroyed by war, fires, typhoons, and earthquakes several times from 1581 to 1958 – also grieved the Notre-Dame Cathedral fire.

"As a church that suffered various calamities and destruction throughout the centuries, the Manila Cathedral grieves with the church in France for the fire incident in their beloved Notre-Dame Cathedral," said the Manila Cathedral in a statement on Tuesday. 

"But amid this grief, the resurrection of our Lord Jesus signals the hope of rebirth and reconstruction. As Saint Paul says in his letter to the Corinthians, 'we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed,'" the Manila Cathedral added.

France thanked the Philippines on Tuesday for showing solidarity after the Notre-Dame Cathedral fire.

"The Embassy of France in Manila would like to thank our friends in the Philippines for their heartfelt messages following the massive fire that engulfed parts of the Notre-Dame de Paris," said the French embassy in a statement.

"French President Macron has vowed to rebuild this iconic 850-year old UNESCO world heritage landmark. Speaking to reporters, he said: 'We will rebuild Notre Dame because this is what the French expect, because this is what our history deserves, because it is our destiny,'" the embassy added. –