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RANDOM THOUGHTS | Rizal, Quarantine, COVID-19 and the Bible




“THEY placed us under quarantine, in spite of the clearance given by the American Consul, of having at sea for about one mount, of not having had a single case of illness abroad, and of the telegram of the governor of Hong Kong declaring that their post free from epidemic.

“We were quarantined because there were 800 Chinese and, as elections were being held in San Francisco, the government wanted to boast that it was taking strict measures against the Chinese to win votes and the people`s sympathy. We were informed of the quarantine verbally, without specifying its declaration. However, on the same day of our arrival, they unloaded 700 bales of silk without fumigating them; the ship`s doctor went ashore; many customs employees and an American doctor from the hospital for cholera victims were on board.


“Thus, we were quarantined for about thirteen days. Afterwards, only passengers of the first class were allowed to land; the Japanese and Chinese of the 2nd and 3rd classes remained in quarantine for an indefinite period. It was said that in that way, they got rid of about 300 Chinese, letting them gradually died on board. I did not know if this was true.” (Rizal, according to Ambeth R. Ocampo).

Obviously, Rizal, being a doctor, was very much aware on the importance of quarantine. History is replete with stories of widespread highly communicable diseases like plague, leprosy, cholera, malaria, typhoid fever, AIDS, and SARS. Now enters COVID-19. Quarantine is one of the effective methods of government to contain the spread of these diseases. Hence, let`s cooperate with our government officials in their quarantine plan vis-à-vis COVID-19.

That`s why we are very thankful for Atty. Caesar Europa`s March 16, 2020 column, titled: “Quaranta Giorni” in Mindanao Times, explaining in more detail the legal and medical aspects of Quarantine. According to Atty. Europa, the word quarantine “comes from the Italian `quaranta giorni` or `forty days` because, in the 15th century, ships arriving in Venice from places infected by plague were required to sit in anchor for forty days before launching to make sure that none of the crew and passengers had plague.” With globalization now, the spread of highly contagious diseases is multiplied a hundredfold.

I hope that our youth (“ang pag-asa ng bayan”, per Rizal), read/hear the message of Pope John Paul II to them which ic still very relevant today. First, he called the youth to “follow Jesus” in helping the poor. Second, he called the youth “to live life with meaning, dignity and sense of vocation”. Third, “to build up the Church and proclaim the Word”. (Especially to their peers). Young Filipinos, let your voices be heard.

I hope that there will be wider and deeper consultation and participation between the religious and clergy – and the laity on social actions and transformation. I hope that a good working relationship be established between our Churches and government. Our government should fully understand that governance and politics have ethical and spiritual dimensions. On the other hand, our Churches` thoughtful intervention in governance and politics must be “an expression of Faith” and faithful to their Social Doctrine. Furthermore, I hope that there will also be more meaningful collaborations between our Churches and government involving all aspects of Filipinos` social life particularly the healing of our “cancerous” Philippine society. This is a challenge to both of them.


I likewise hope that proper cooperation of all our institutions confronting this pandemic COVID-19, avoiding massive social unrest in our country is attained. I also hope that since an ORATIO Imperata for COVID-19 was issued by our Church, she will also issue an Aratio Imperata for authentic Social Transformation for the healing of our very sick Philippine Society. We deserve a better society than this.

I also hope that all members of my family and my children`s families will continue to change for the better, everyday, and eventually lead to holiness. I likewise hope that a vaccine for COVID-19 will soon be discovered for obvious reason. I also hope that, we Filipino will boldly and passionately pursue Real Social Transformation to be able to approximate our Dream Philippines Shared Vision of: “A Nation of God-Loving and Healthy People, United in Diversity, with Full Democracy, a Diamond-Shared Humane, Just and Innovative Society, Sustainable Prosperity, and Lasting Peace.” Lastly, I fervently hope that all my hopes stated above will materialize in God`s time, with God`s grace.

Atty. Europa`s concluding paragraph reads: “As a nation, the government and the populace, must nip this problem in the bud, and we can only do this by Cooperation. Otherwise, we are all dead ducks.”

How long will the world be able to ultimately contain the spread of COVID-19 is anybody`s guess. We hope and pray that it will be sooner than later. “Parang patikim pa lang ito ng Diyos.” What lessons are we learning with our current predicament?

One of the four (4) horsemen of Apocalypse in the Holy Bible is Pestilence symbolized by a pale-green horse. Pestilence connotes “any virulent fatal contagious disease” of epidemic or pandemic proportion. It is said that about one-fourth of the world populace will perish due to pestilence during the great tribulation. Thus, this serves as a warning to all of us to repent and change our evil ways for the Final Judgement is close at hand. The Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ will “come quickly”.

“In a crisis, it is impossible to get spiritual energy from others. Store it up ahead of time.” Said George Williams. To do this preparation, famous evangelist Billy Graham presented five (5) points to strengthen one`s “Spiritual armor”. These are: First, we must make sure of our relationship to God. Second, we should learn now to walk with God in our daily life. Third, we need to fortify ourselves with the Word of God, Fourth, we need to fortify ourselves with prayer, Fifth, we must fortify ourselves by realizing the nearness of the Lord at all times. (Our addition) Sixth, to prepare ourselves for the suffering and persecution which seems so invertible. Seventh, we need also to foster and strengthen the small group movement concept of “Christian cell”.

A.B.Norrish stressed: The standard that God has set is impossibly high. He alone can bring us there. But nothing less than this is His glorious purpose and a possibility open to everyone of us, for the things that are impossible with men are possible with God”. Norrish classified into three (3) major qualifications namely: 1) Spiritual Maturity, 2) Faith, and 3( Spirit – Filled. Under Spiritual Maturity are 1) Stability of Character, and 2) Integrity. Under Faith are: 1) Vision, 2) courage, and 3) Confidence. And under Spirit-Filled are: 1) Humility and Love.

Since we started this article with Rizal it is but fitting to end this also with him. Dr. Rizal was an eye doctor or ophthalmologist. When he was exited in Dapitan, he likewise was engaged in general and herbal medicine including dentistry.

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