Palace: ‘Love each other’ amid pandemic

MALACAÑANG on Thursday enjoined the predominantly Catholic country to reflect on faith and peace during the observance of the Holy Week, as the Philippines continues its fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

In a statement, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar urged Filipinos to draw inspiration from the Lenten season “to act with love, hope, and compassion towards others as we collectively endure the present challenges.”

“We are one with the whole Catholic community in the Philippines and in the world in observing the Lenten season. Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, let us remind ourselves of the ultimate sacrifice, rooted in love and compassion, by our Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of all,” Andanar said.

“May it further inspire us to persevere with faith and peace in our hearts, and to help bring significant changes in our society, especially as we continue recovering from this pandemic,” he added.

This year marks the second time Filipinos will be spending the Holy Week at home and without doing the traditional Visita Iglesia, Mass, and religious gatherings, but church leaders said this should not stop them from observing it in the safety of their homes.

With the stringent health protocols imposed on the entire nation, the Filipino faithful are encouraged to stay inside their homes this Holy week, most especially in the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, which are under the strictest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) effective until Easter Sunday, subject to further review.

“Let us continue to observe the health and safety protocols to protect ourselves from the virus, and ensure our safety and those of our loved ones,” Andanar said.

“We also ask those in the areas that have been placed under ECQ to stay at home as religious gatherings have been prohibited and to adhere to the 6 p.m to 5 a.m curfew hours. We wish everyone a safe observance of Holy Week,” he added.

Archdioceses and dioceses in the affected areas have announced the airing of holy masses online via their websites or Facebook pages.

Holy Week traditions such as the praying of the Stations of the Cross, the Seven Last Words, and the Easter Vigil will also be aired online.

Other Holy Week observances such as the Senakulo (Passion plays), processions, the pabasa, and motorcades will not be held.

As of March 31, the country posted 747,288 total number of Covid-19 cases, of which 130,245 are active. The figures are said to be the highest in the Southeast Asian region and the fourth highest in Asia.