Top Manila prelate Bishop Pabillo tests positive for COVID-19

Erik Tenedero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 23 2020 03:47 PM | Updated as of Jul 23 2020 05:39 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator and auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Manila, has tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement released on Thursday, the bishop said he found out he had contracted the coronavirus disease 2019 after a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test. 

Pabillo said he is now in a designated area for quarantine. 

"Although I do not feel anything, I follow the protocol that is set," the prelate said. "My condition is being monitored and I take healthy food and vitamins, and do physical exercise." 

Pabillo said his staff have tested negative for the virus and that the people he had contact with in the past week have been informed. 

The bishop added that he would continue to perform his ministry in the Church online while he is under quarantine. 

"I know this virus will pass, so please do not worry about me, although prayers would be very much appreciated," he said. 

"Since I am in my normal self, thank God, the scheduled online meetings that we have set will continue. Life must go on." 

Prior to contracting COVID-19, the bishop took care of the homeless through the Church's social service arm Caritas Manila, the Archdiocese of Manila said in a separate statement. 

He visited families affected by the fire that broke out in Happyland in Tondo, Manila last May. He also went to visit the Santo Niño de Pandacan Parish after it was engulfed in blaze last July 10. 

Pabillo was appointed by Pope Francis as the caretaker of the Archdiocese of Manila after its former archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle was chosen as the new prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. 

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said Pabillo is the first Filipino bishop to test positive for the novel coronavirus, which has already infected more than 72,000 in the Philippines. 

Pabillo was scheduled to lead a Mass for peace and justice at the Manila Cathedral on Monday, July 27, hours before President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his fifth state of the nation address (SONA). 

A priest in the archdiocese will take over the Masses that Pabillo usually presides over. His prepared homilies will be read in the said eucharistic celebrations.