Ten Hail Mary’s daily against COVID-19

IN a joint Pastoral Message on COVID-19 to Teachers, Educators, Seminary Professors and Seminarians and the Catholic faithful delivered by Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas (Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan and Chairman, Episcopal Commission on Seminaries) together with Bishop Roberto C. Mallari (Bishop of San Jose de Nueva Ecija and Chairman, Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education); we were all invited to a collective prayer action to lift the lockdowns and help heal the nation.

A survival guide on how to live with COVID-19

AN epidemic of pneumonia of mysterious cause materialized in Wuhan, China in December of 2019. As early as January 2020, a virus was sequenced and recognized as a novel coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19. By March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed the outbreak of this pandemic with current numbers reaching over 20+ million individuals infected and approximately 700,000+ deaths globally (to date). This global pandemic has highlighted the necessity to comprehend how it is that we can avoid from being infected and why this may be different from the ways we often think about the containment of infectious diseases.

A call to prayer

A FEW weeks ago I shared some pastoral reflections on the recently approved Anti-Terror Law which was fast-tracked and approved in both Houses of Congress while the whole country’s attention was focused on the Covid-19 pandemic. Days after, Bishop Pablo Virgilio S. David, D.D. (Bishop of Kalookan and Acting President of the CBCP) issued a pastoral letter asking us to offer a prayer not just for our current health crisis but political stability as well of our nation.

Top 5 social symbols in the time of COVID

OUR use of social symbols is adaptive; this means that humans can learn to associate new symbols to an idea or new world views with a symbol. Humans, knowingly and subconsciously, are always struggling to make sense of their surrounding world. Social Symbols --- such as actions, ciphers, objects, signals and words --- help people understand that world. They provide clues to understanding experiences by assigning familiar meanings that are shared by our communities.

The virtue of staying at home amid COVID-19

ACCORDING to a current study conducted by the University of the Philippines OCTA Research the number of COVID-19 cases could reach 85,000 with 2,000 deaths by the end of July if the reproduction number of the virus continues to increase. In fact, the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Philippine College of Chest Physicians, Philippine Pediatric Society, and Philippine Society of Public Health Physicians cautioned that the Philippines “may become the next global epicenter of COVID-19 unless prompt action is taken by our leaders and the general public.”

Pastoral statements on the Anti-Terrorism Act

AS Pres. Rodrigo Duterte signs into law the Philippine Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which amends the 2007 Human Security Act, expands the definition of terrorism and permits the surveillance, warrantless arrest and detention of terrorism suspects for up to 24 days. Allow me to share with you some pastoral reflections from pastors from Lingayen, Dagupan and Manila to guide us in our understanding of this new legislation.

The 10 commandments of online education

AS we prepare for the “new normal” in Education vis-à-vis this COVID-19 Health Crisis; our academic institutions will not just be about functioning in a setting that safeguards the wellbeing of students; nor will it be about completely transitioning to online modalities. The shift will likewise entail the establishment of ETHICAL PARADIGMS that would help guide administrators, teachers, parents and students in maneuvering in this new “flexible & unfamiliar learning space” in the creation of new norms outside the traditional classroom environment.

Post quarantine advocacy

AS announced by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) last June 5, 2020; our unemployment soared to 17.7% in April 2020, equivalent to around 7.3 million jobless Filipinos amid the coronavirus pandemic. In response therefore Caritas Manila (under the leadership of Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual) as part of its Post-Quarantine Social Recovery Program is spearheading a community and parish-based initiative dubbed as the “GEN 129 MOVEMENT”.

Radio veritas 4pm deliverance prayer

AS our Philippine COVID-19 data is released daily every after 4pm, let us join Radio Veritas in collectively offering during this time a nationwide deliverance prayer to SAN ROQUE [St. Roch] our Patron Saint against Plagues, and ask through his intercession the healing of those afflicted by COVID-19 and our continued protection against this plague/disease. And, on his Feast Day [August 16] let’s pray our country’s deliverance from this health crisis.

COVID-19 crisis management: Issues & concerns

DURING the course of our Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), Atty. Howard M. Calleja (legal luminary and PPCRV colleague) spoke on various Issues and Concerns relating to the management of this infectious disease. I spoke to Atty. Howie, and here are some of his significant insights which is worth sharing:

Spiritual wellness amid COVID19

IN a Survey initiated by Radio Veritas, which used a stratified sample of 1,200 respondents nationwide for a +/- 3% margin of error (gathered through a text-based and online data gathering process) the information yielded the respondents’ perception on the resumption of Church Masses in MECQ/GCQ Areas (inclusive of the survey dates covering May 1-15, 2020).

Religious gathering during GCQ

UP to the present time, all religious activities (e.g. Sunday Masses in the Catholic Churches) will still be prohibited in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) in order to prevent further transmission of COVID-19. This comes despite appeals from religious groups like the Council of the Laity of the Philippines (LAIKO) that expressed its appeal after the Inter-Agency Task Force withdrew its earlier decision to allow religious gathering in GCQ areas.

Social distancing not social isolation

INSTINCTIVELY, we are hard-wired to physically distance ourselves from others who could infect us. We likewise have an all-inclusive set of evolved responses, called “parasite avoidance,” to prevent us from maintaining contact with others who may transmit contagious diseases; and during this COVID19 Health Crisis our “social distancing” practices have even roused these “distancing” predispositions we have.

COVID-19 and the “New Normal”

THOUGH in a 2009 study by Phillippa Lally and her team at the University College of London, which stipulates that it will take 66 days (not 21 days) to establish new automatic behaviors; our 45-day Enhanced Community Quarantine will definitely bring to light a “New Normal” in our social and personal manners and activities.

“Concerned for others” characterize peoples under ECQ

IN A SURVEY initiated by Radio Veritas that uses a stratified sample of 1,200 respondents from Luzon for a +/- 3% margin of error (gathered through a text-based and online data gathering process) the following information is indicative of the “emotional disposition” of respondents currently undergoing home isolation under the Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) inclusive of the dates covering March 15 to April 15, 2020.