MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday urged Filipinos to mark Lent by paying God's love forward by helping others and calling for effective governance during the COVID-19 pandemic, among others.
Quoting Pope Francis, Robredo said love "is not a mere sentiment; it is our most effective tool in building a new world." Love, she said, "allows us to see our fellow human beings as part of the same family, as our own brothers and sisters."
"In this time of crisis, sa sabay-sabay nating pagharap sa mga hamon ng pandemya, tinatawagan tayong mas lawakan pa ‘yung saklaw ng mahal natin," Robredo said in a taped message.
"Pag-ibig sa kapwa ang pinakamaka-Diyos na layunin—and we pay God’s love forward by being there for our fellow human beings."
(In this time of crisis, as we face the challenges of the pandemic together, we are called to widen the scope of who we love. Love for others is the most Godly goal.)
Love during the pandemic "means doing everything we can to protect the person next to us from infection," the Vice President added.
"It means spreading correct information about the virus and the vaccines. It means calling for effective pandemic governance," she said.
"It means helping those in need, and orienting our thoughts and actions towards the other. It means ensuring that the truth that binds us all is upheld."
About 80 percent of people in the Philippines are Catholic.
Religious gatherings were banned from Monday until Easter in Metro Manila and 4 surrounding provinces, where the strictest quarantine level was reimposed to slow a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections. President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday will decide whether or not to extend restrictions in the area.
Coronavirus cases in the Philippines totaled 747,288, the second highest in Southeast Asia, as of Wednesday. — With a report from Reuters