The 2019–20 corona virus pandemic was confirmed to have spread to
the Philippines on January 30, 2020 involving a 38-year-old Chinese woman who
was confined in the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila. The second case was
confirmed on February 2, that of a 44-year-old Chinese man who died a day
earlier, which was also the first confirmed death from the disease outside
mainland China. The first case of someone without travel history abroad was
confirmed on March 5, a 62-year-old male who frequented a Muslim prayer hall
in San Juan, Metro Manila, raising suspicions that a community transmission of
COVID-19 is already underway in the Philippines. The man's wife was confirmed
to have contracted COVID-19 on March 7, which was also the first local
transmission to be confirmed.
On March 9, 2020, President Duterte signed Proclamation 922. This is the
Community Quarantine (Lock down) for Metro Manila. The proclamation also
added that the lock down was to take effect midnight of March 15, 2020. This
was the same week that Cubao Reformed Baptist Church (CRBC) through its
benevolent ministry, Christian Compassion Ministries Foundation Inc. (CCMFI) in
partnership with Sta Cruz Baptist Church (SCBC) in Batangas, conducted the
Bangon Batangas Relief Work.
On March 14, 2020, Barangay Socorro (where CRBC is situated) invited
representatives from churches within its jurisdiction to discourage them from
mass gathering. The meeting attended by Ptr. Joseph Mangahas was to prevent
transmission of the virus. So on March 15, as a response to that meeting, the
elders decided to cancel the afternoon service but proceeded to have the Sunday
school and morning service. We complied with the order of social distancing.
On March 16, 2020 President Duterte issued Proclamation 929 establishing the
Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila and placed the entire
island of Luzon under Community Quarantine. With this and the continuing rise in
cases of COVID-19, the Elders and Deacons in its Video Conference on March 19,
2020 decided to Lockdown CRBC and temporarily streamline the services for
members. Hence, the first live stream Sunday services were done on March 22,
2020. Live streaming of the services continues until the present. Other Reformed
Baptist churches have also streamlined their Pastors’ preaching while others
have recorded messages for their members.
With the strict implementation of ECQ, the citizens were mandated to stay at
home and there is no public transportation available. Only the essential
businesses like pharmacies, hospitals, banks, manufacturing companies etc
were allowed to continue operations. Purchasing basic necessities, especially
food, became a problem. The Government has encouraged Work from Home
arrangements (WFH) so many employees could still receive their salaries.
Companies that had to stop operations were given subsidies for their employees
‘compensation, subject to online filing procedures. Another scheme suggested
was to advance half of the 13th month pay of employees. However, those who
are on a daily wage basis, unemployed or on hand to mouth existence, could not
avail of such. CRBC has members who are in this condition.
On March 24, 2020, during the weekly Video Conference, the Elders and Deacons
agreed to list members needing help so CRBC could extend financial assistance.
On March 25, 2020 CRBC disbursed from its general fund money which were
sent personally or through remittances centers to those who are identified and
listed. To this date, this has substantially been completed. This assistance is
only good for a few days so we are still finding ways to help our needy members.
CRBC encouraged its members to donate to its COVID-19 Relief Fund to further
help identified members who are in financial need.
We sorely miss the gathered services in CRBC and the fellowship of the brethren.
Our ministries had to be halted. Grace Ministerial Academy (GMA) classes had to
be cancelled and the Graduation Rites for nine (9) students had to be postponed.
CCMFI home continues operations but our Community Development Program
activities had to be cancelled or postponed. The Drop In Ministry, sadly had to be
abruptly discontinued for the time being.
While the temporary arrangement of Live streamed services provide the spiritual
feeding for our members, the Pastors’ hearts are grieved that their ministry to the
members have greatly been limited. In addition to this, we have been
experiencing technical difficulties in our Live stream services. Please pray that
the solution reached at the moment will prove effective.
Other Reformed Baptist Churches, especially those in the provinces, have also
messaged CRBC of their financial difficulties especially of their members.
Despite the drop in tithes and offerings as a result of the lockdown, CRBC desires
to coordinate with the other Reformed Baptist Churches in Metro Manila to
alleviate their predicament. Please pray that we could find means to do so and
be moved to act this out.
As the confirmed cases of COVID-19 rise to more than 2,311 (as of April 1), with
the largest single day increase recorded on March 3, PLEASE pray for our nation
whose Health system is not as established as those in developed countries. May
our great God have mercy upon all nations and on the Filipinos who suffer from
poverty and now the dreaded disease of COVID-19.
May God bless us all.
THE ELDERS OF CRBC