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.