Defense chief offers message of hope amid these trying times

By Priam Nepomuceno

April 12, 2020, 12:19 pm

<p>Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana</p>

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

MANILA – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Sunday thanked all Filipinos for cooperating and working hard to contain the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and expressed confidence that the pandemic will be beaten soon.

Lorenzana issued the statement as the Catholic faithful celebrate Easter Sunday, hoping the message of the resurrection of Jesus Christ will continue to give hope even in the most trying times.

"As Easter Sunday culminates the Lenten season, we join our Catholic faithful in remembering Christ's triumph over death,” he said in his Easter Sunday message. “His resurrection and ascension to glory reminds us of the dawning of a new day brimming with hope, especially amid the suffering and challenges brought on by the pandemic we are now facing.”

He said Easter Sunday is as good a time as any “to deepen our faith and become bearers of light for our fellowmen”.

"May the Easter Gospel also inspire us to reach out to those in need, remember to be compassionate as Christ had been, and take heart that we shall triumph against this disease," he added.

Promise of hope

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff, Gen. Felimon T. Santos Jr. said the celebration of Easter Sunday "is a promise of hope".

"Christ is risen! This is the promise of hope throughout mankind as we celebrate Easter Sunday. I join the entire Christian faithful in celebrating this glorious day ever mindful of the promise of our risen Savior that we will all conquer whatever crisis and troubles that befall us. This is especially true as we continue the fight against Covid-19, and with this promise, we will prevail," he said.

While admitting that the country is now in a difficult battle, Santos said resurrection and faith bring message to every Filipino that nothing is impossible.

"Now is the time to renew our strengths and share it with the afflicted and the uncertain, for we are all in this together and we will heal as one," he added.

Santos said the AFP will continue to stand side by side with the country's medical personnel, adding that some 250 military doctors, nurses and medical aides are now also deployed in the patient care centers.

Aside from medical personnel, the AFP also deployed 16,000 troops to support the National Task Force Covid-19's enforcement of community quarantine measures.

"As we are again reminded of our collective sacrifices, we continue to ask for the public's cooperation, support, and patience in our fight and triumph against this pandemic. If the risen Christ be for us, then who or what can be against us? We are assured by His promise and we will prevail," Santos said.

Covid-19 like crown of thorns

For his part, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Archie Gamboa said Covid-19 pandemic is like a crown of thorns that the world has to bear as the global coronavirus death toll has reportedly surpassed 101,000 mark.

“Our nation and world’s fight against Covid-19 this Holy Week made us suffer with God, made the world feel the Crown of Thorns and made us admit our weaknesses, ask for forgiveness and forgive our fellow men,” Gamboa said in a statement.

Gamboa urged the Filipinos to strengthen their faith that God will protect the nation and the whole world from the deadly coronavirus.

“Let us have faith that like Jesus, we are all experiencing His passion, pain and death,” he said.
“Let us help the marginalized who struggle to survive the heat inside their shanties while parting the assistance given to them throughout this quarantine period; let us share the pain of being hungry, the pain of not being able to work or being laid-off from work, the pain of losing businesses, the pain of losing loved-ones from Covid-19 and the pain of its impact in our livelihood, our economy and our physical and mental health.”

He also called for support and prayer for the front-liners, especially the health workers and law enforcers.

“Let us take part in our own 40 days of passion by staying at home while praying and supporting our last line of defense -- the medical health workers together with all the front-liners including the men and women of the PNP and AFP who are all heroes in this battle, who risk their lives, being away from their families -- to save lives. Let us heed the call of government to stop fomenting panic, hatred and confusion by propagating disinformation,” he said. (with reports from Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan/PNA)