A ranking member of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called on President Rodrigo Duterte to take advantage his emergency powers granted through the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act by instituting more aggressive measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the country.

“We demand two things from this government: 1. COVID testing for all, that we know who are carriers of COVID, then we can separate them and flatten the curve; 2. Hospital facilities: space, PPE, respirators and medicines (to boost patients’ immunity),” CBCP– National Secretariat for Social Action Justice and Peace/Caritas Philippines (CBCP-NASSA) chair and Kidapawan Diocese Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo  said over Catholic radio station Radio Veritas.

The head of the Catholic Church in the Philippines’ charitable arm also suggested that the government form a “multi-sectoral command council” to address the crisis.

“Now is the time for public and private partnership, we need all hands to confront COVID 19 and its consequences to our people, not only the disease but its effect in the society now,” Bagaforo said.

Since the first day of the outbreak, the CBCP-NASSA has led the Church’s charitable response to the Luzon wide enhanced community quarantine through personal protective equipment donations for medical frontliners and relief goods for affected residents.  (Rommel F. Lopez)