October 22, 2020 - Thursday
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Davao City, Philippines

After beating Covid-19, priest leads help drive for patients

September 25, 2020 - Friday 2:09 PM by PNA

Article Banner Image RECOVERED. Fr. Angel Buenavides, vicar general of the Diocese of Marbel, leads a virtual holy mass on Thursday (Sept. 24, 2020) after recovering from coronavirus disease 2019 in General Santos City. The priest has launched a 'solidarity movement' to gather donations for Covid-19 patients in isolation and quarantine facilities. (Screen grab of live-streamed holy mass)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Calling it “love and faith in action,” a Catholic priest here who recently recovered from coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) has launched an initiative to assist patients in isolation and quarantine facilities.

Fr. Angel Buenavides, vicar general of the Diocese of Marbel, said Wednesday his personal advocacy dubbed "solidarity movement", aims to help provide for the most pressing needs of Covid-19 patients as well as bring them hope and encouragement.

Buenavides said he came up with the idea after spending time in an undisclosed isolation facility due to confirmed infection.

The priest, who also serves as the spokesperson of the diocese, tested positive for Covid-19 on Sept. 5.

Buenavides said he still does not know how he contracted the virus as he had not been visiting public places such as malls and public markets, although his mission work made him go around some local communities.

He said he suffered mild symptoms of the disease, among them the loss of taste for several days.

The City Health Office requires patients with mild symptoms to undergo 21 days of isolation before being considered recovered.

During his ordeal, he said he experienced the difficulties faced by Covid-19 “victims” and made him understand their fears, struggles, and uncertainties.

“I also realized that the situation will not be that heavy if we just help each other,” Buenavides said in the vernacular in a radio interview.

After he recovered, he launched the "solidarity movement" campaign among friends and local institutions to gather donations for Covid-19 patients.

He said interested individuals may donate food, fruits, and basic necessities and even coloring books and crayons for children.   

"A simple snack or meal will go a long way for patients, who are not only alone but could not do anything if they crave for anything like food," he said.

Aside from material support, Buenavides said the patients need acceptance and encouragement from the people, especially their friends and relatives, and should not be discriminated against.

“We can call them up, bring cheer and encouragement, and reassurance that we’re there for them,” he said.

With the Covid-29 cases in the city currently on the rise due to confirmed clustering and local transmission, he said residents should also continue to support front-liners, especially medical and health workers.

“We need prayer warriors for them. They’re already tired and weary as there are even doctors who were already quarantined twice,” he added.

The confirmed Covid-19 cases in the city since March already reached a total of 274, with 10 related deaths and 126 recoveries. Allen Estabillo