Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, announced that he tested positive of the new coronavirus disease on July 23.
In a letter to members of the clergy in the archdiocese, Bishop Pabillo said he would immediately be going on quarantine.
“Although I do not feel anything, I follow the protocol that is set,” said the prelate, who is so far the first Filipino bishop to have been infected by the disease.
Although members of his staff have tested negative, people who were in contact with the bishop in recent days have already been advised to take precautionary measures.
“I know this virus will pass, so please do not worry about me,” said Bishop Pabillo. “Although prayers would be very much appreciated,” he added.
He said that because he seems to be asymptomatic and “in my normal self,” scheduled online meetings will not be canceled. “Life must go on,” he said.
A priest from the archdiocese will temporarily replace the prelate in the celebration of Mass at the Manila Cathedral but will read the homilies that the bishop will prepare.
The 65-year-old prelate was appointed apostolic administrator of Manila by Pope Francis after Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle left for Rome in January.
Bishop Pabillo was appointed auxiliary bishop of Manila on May 24, 2006.
The prelate has been a vocal critic of the recent passage of the anti-terrorism law, the closure of a broadcast network ABS-CBN, and what he described as the “militarized” approach of the Philippine government in addressing the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Since the onset of the pandemic, Bishop Pabillo has been urging the government to conduct massive testing, effective contact tracing, treatment, and isolation of those who are afflicted with the disease.
As of July 22, the Philippines has already recorded 72,269 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 46,803 active cases, 1,843 deaths, and 23,623 recoveries.