PCEC Statement on the Outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease in 2019 (COVID-19)
We, the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), as disciples of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, seek to follow him who as Immanuel, “God with us” (Matt. 1:23), demonstrated genuine care and concern for those who are sick, suffering, and afflicted (Matt. 8:1-17; Lk. 17:11-19). Bearing in mind the compassionate nature of our Almighty God is of great importance as we face together with the rest of the world the deadly threat of the corona virus or COVID-19 outbreak, which has now claimed more than one thousand lives and has infected over forty thousand persons worldwide since it was first reported from the virus epicenter of Wuhan, China during the latter part of December 2019.
The COVID-19 outbreak has been declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC), the organization’s highest level of alarm. About twenty-five countries have confirmed cases of the virus, with the first death outside of mainland China occurring here in the Philippines last February 1 to a Chinese tourist from Wuhan. According to WHO, it may take eighteen months for the first vaccine to be ready. While we Evangelicals recognize the immense contribution of the scientific, health, and medical communities toward defeating this virus, we know that victory ultimately comes through the Almighty God who is also Jehovah Rapha, “The God Who Heals” (Exod. 15:26).
As we look to God’s mighty intervention, following his incarnational nature also prompts us to be in solidarity with all who are affected in various ways by this epidemic, particularly with the people of China where most of the infection and deaths have taken place. In our country, there are currently some 238 persons confined in hospitals as “patients under investigation” (PUIs) for possible infection; around 3,500 returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are stranded here, cut off from their sources of livelihood abroad due to the travel ban to China, Hongkong and Macau; many Filipinos are stranded in China and are suffering there as well.
Sadly, the COVID-19 outbreak also brought to the surface of our society the ugly head of racism toward people of Chinese descent, whether local Chinese-Filipinos or tourists and workers from China. We therefore denounce strongly the spreading in any form of false claims that incite discrimination and unnecessary fear and panic.
In view of this serious threat upon us, PCEC calls on all Evangelical Christians in our country and our beloved fellow Filipinos to:
- Take the necessary measures to prevent infection such as frequently washing one’s hands, practicing respiratory hygiene, seeking medical care when symptoms appear, and other similar steps.
- Pray and call on the Lord:
- for the healing and recovery of all people who have been infected with the coronavirus.
- for the protection of health workers who regularly come into contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases.
- for the protection, resilience, and encouragement of the people and the leaders of China (1 Tim. 2:1-2), who are suffering the most from this epidemic.
- Help fight the rising prejudice and resentment against the Chinese people, who are not themselves the disease or the cause of it but are the main victims of this outbreak. Let us emulate Jesus’ love and compassion for others, which broke through all barriers of race, religion, culture, and class (Matt. 25:34-45).
“5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Romans 15: 5-6