COVID-19 Crisis: MECQ for NCR Plus extended until May 14, 2021

After weeks of anticipation by the public, President Rodrigo Duterte announced the other night the extension of modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until May 14, 2021 for the National Capital Region (NCR) plus the bordering provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal. In connection to this, Duterte apologized.

To put things about the extended MECQ in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) article. Some parts in bold…

“Modified enhanced community quarantine. Modified ito so medyo strict. NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal (Modified enhanced community quarantine – modified, meaning somehow strict – will be imposed in NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal),” Duterte said in his talk to the people.

MECQ will be implemented in NCR Plus, composed of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, MECQ until May 14, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a separate press statement.

Quirino and Abra provinces, as well as the City of Santiago in Isabela, will also stay under MECQ for the whole month of May, Duterte said.

On the other hand, the more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) will be imposed in Apayao, Baguio City, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Quezon, Tacloban City, Iligan City, Davao City, and Lanao del Sur from May 1 to 31.

The rest of the country will remain under the least restrictive modified GCQ (MGCQ).

Roque said the latest quarantine status is still “subject to the appeals of local government units.”

The government is targeting to lower health care and intensive care unit (ICU) utilization rates to ease the quarantine protocols in the country amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

In recent times, the daily count of new COVID-19 cases in the Philippines fell below 10,000. It was reported the other day that the new COVID-19 cases was at 6,895 nationwide. Still the nation has over 1,000,000 COVID-19 cases grand total (including recoveries) and the secured vaccines cannot arrive fast enough from overseas. Also, it will take a lot of time before the local production of vaccines will become a reality in the nation.

Apart from public health, more attention should be paid on the economy which has been set back a lot since the latest ECQ (enhanced community quarantine). The current MECQ meanwhile resulted 13% of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to stay closed specifically in the NCR Plus zone.

More on the economy, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez is pushing to help the economy by recommending a flexible MECQ in NCR Plus with gradual reopening of labor-intensive sectors in mind.

For perspective, posted below is an excerpt for the Philippine News Agency article. Some parts in bold…

In a radio interview Thursday, Lopez said the agency is eyeing to reopen personal care services with a limited capacity of 20 to 30 percent as well as dine-in services in food establishments by 10 to 20 percent.

“Ni-recommend ho kasi naming ‘yong MECQ with flexibility. We are just after sa pagbabalik ng trabaho, pero yung higpit naman ng mobility ay nandoon pa rin. Ang importante lang ay itong trabaho. We’re talking about opening the sectors na sarado pa rin (We recommended the MECQ with flexibility. We are just after bringing back jobs, but the strict mobility will still be there. What’s important is the jobs. We’re talking about opening the sectors that are still closed),” he said.

He added that the gradual reopening of the personal care and dine-in services was “partially discussed” with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

“Iko-confirm na lang mamaya sa IATF kung ilang porsyento [The IATF will confirm later the percentage (of capacity)],” Lopez said.

An estimated 200,000 workers in personal care services and 1 million fast-food and restaurant crews were affected during the stricter community quarantine measures in National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal and about PHP60 billion worth of wages were lost during the two-week MECQ, Lopez said.

The current MECQ also shed PHP120 billion in gross domestic product, on top of the PHP180-billion economic losses during the two-week ECQ.

While it is essential for people and organizations to follow health protocols and avoid COVID-19 infections, the same goes with the economy. So many have been suffering from the lack of jobs, the loss of income and, in the case of businesses, the loss of customers and clients. Being in the private sector myself, I definitely want more businesses of any size to reopen, make money, hire the unemployed and contribute to the development of local society. I want to see the personal care services to resume operations, as well as the return of indoor dining for restaurants and cafes. I also want to see more of my fellow Filipinos to stay above poverty and rise higher. That being said, I say that capitalism is the way to go and the real way to restore prosperity for the Philippines even as we face varied challenges daily during this COVID-19 (China Virus) crisis.

From this point on, I encourage you to keep observing the moves of not only the national authorities but also those in your local government, your barangay and other organizations serving you. Pray that the public servants and community leaders will look up to the Lord and acknowledge His authority over them. Pray for the leaders to look up to God. Finally, no matter how good or bad your situation is, keep having strong faith in our Lord. If you are hurting and you need healing, come to Lord Jesus (read Mark 5:25-34 in the Holy Bible).

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

What to watch today for Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of you my readers and my fellow Christians! We honor and remember our Lord and Savior Jesus whose birth, life, sacrifice and resurrection remains highly significant to this day. It is during the Christmas season we should focus mainly on Lord Jesus and not allow ourselves to be distracted by the elements of this screwed-up world we live in. Christmas is all about Lord Jesus, nothing else and nobody else!

That being said, it is time for us all to take the opportunities of today to deepen our faith in the Lord and this is about what to watch this Christmas.

No, I am not talking about the venomous Hollywood movies that pretend to be about Christmas, nor those movies that used Christmas as a backdrop or a setting. In fact, I am not talking about movies at all.

What I am talking about are Christ-centered events and presentations that we can find online and easily access. For starters, we can warm up ourselves with the many Christmas musical performances by Hillsong Worship and a few from Planetshakers below.

Now we can focus on upcoming Christmas events. In fact, a few of them will happen today – December 24, hours from now to be precise! Let’s start with Hope Unlimited Church (HopeUC) and its Christmas Eve service which will start live streaming via YouTube today at 2:45 PM Manila Time (5:45 PM in Australia). For the newcomers reading this, HopeUC is headed by the famous pastor Darlene Zschech and her husband Mark.

Next is the Christmas Eve service of Hillsong Church which will start live streaming via YouTube at 3PM Manila time (6PM in Australia) today. Expect to see Brian and Bobbie Houston.

Tomorrow, Hillsong Church will have its Christmas Day service. It will start live streaming via YouTube at 6:30 AM Manila time (9:30 AM in Australia).

Another Christmas Eve event you should pay attention to is Yugto, to be organized and presented by Church of God, World Missions Philippines. This special event will start streaming live via the megachurch’s Facebook page and its YouTube channel tonight at 10PM in the Philippines (1AM of December 25 in Australia).

Each of the scheduled Christmas special events of HopeUC, Hillsong and Church of God, World Missions Philippines will include teachings of the Word of God, musical presentations, prayers and other special activities that viewers can focus on and deepen their faith in Lord Jesus.

In ending this, posted below are YouTube videos of the recent Christmas-related events that you might have missed. Enjoy them and remember to take steps when you want to deepen your faith in the Lord. Merry Christmas to you all and remember to keep on being the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Sharing this Christian piece means spreading the good news of the Lord to others. It can help you save the unsaved and the lost souls out there.

If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Never be obsessed with anti-materialism

There is no denying the truth that God rewards His faithful children abundantly. That being said, it is understood that faithful Christians who enjoy prosperity under Him have disciplined themselves and avoided committing sin, specifically covetousness which itself leads to greed, the corruption of the soul and wickedness.

Covetousness is specifically mentioned in the Holy Bible. Refer to the scripture below. These are words of Lord Jesus.

And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

Luke 12: 15 (NKJV)

What Luke 12: 15 makes clear is that we Christians must always prioritize the Lord for He is the source. The economy is not our source, God is our source! The money you received did not provide itself, God provided it and He is still our source! The nice property and supply of essential goods you have now came from the Lord who worked His way through the existing economic systems to bless you. Prosperity in Christianity is real! Learn from the scripture below.

The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and all the blessings of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field. Thus he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.

Genesis 39: 2-6 (NKJV)

As emphasized in the above scripture about Joseph (who was sold to slavery by his brothers), it is clear that prosperity in Christianity is real. As long as we remain faithful to the Lord while keeping ourselves free from covetousness, greed and wickedness, we can always enjoy riches, comfort, favor and luxuries that He blesses us with. It is okay to be rich for as long as you are faithful to Him eternally. With God’s blessings, you are not only rich but also protected, favored and taken cared of. This is one specific truth of Christianity that a lot of people out there cannot understand. 

In this ravaged and divided world we live in, there are countless lost and unsaved souls everywhere. Among them are some people who are obsessed with anti-materialism. To make things clear, the anti-materialism mindset is the extremism some people have with economic materialism, specifically their extreme opposition towards the attitude of getting too attached with the importance of money as well as the uncontrolled desire of possessing a lot of material things. As it is already written in the Holy Bible that Lord Jesus told us to beware of covetousness and that it is truly impossible to worship both the Lord and mammon. The Lord made clear that it is He, NOT material wealth and certainly NOT sin, that we should always put first. As such, the anti-materialism mindset itself is unnecessary and defeated, even though its purpose was to fight materialism. For any faithful, careful and bible-following Christian, being materialistic definitely does NOT go together with being blessed by the Lord.

To make my point, here are my observations about the anti-materialism believers: they believe money itself is always evil; they believe that people are not supposed to prosper; and they believe that the only people to support (by means of donation) in the entire world are the impoverished (the poor).

Clearly things need to be explained here. Firstly, money itself is NOT evil at all. Money is actually neutral and it is a tool that we can use to pay our bills, to acquire things, make investments, to tithe to the church, pay for the education of children and help others via donation to name some. What is evil is the love of money which leads to covetousness, greed and wickedness. The truth below…

Loving money is the first step toward all kinds of trouble. Some people run after it so much that they have given up their faith. Craving more money pushes them away from the faith into error, compounding misery in their lives!

1 Timothy 6: 10 (TPT)

As such, when we prosper under the Lord, we should never prioritize money over the Lord. We certainly do not want to step into all kinds of trouble! Being receivers of His provision, we definitely should never abuse the blessings He gave us. The anti-materialism believers simply failed to understand the truth.

Secondly, it is wrong to believe that people are not supposed to prosper. As already mentioned above, prosperity under the Lord is real and those who continue to be blessed a lot by Him are those who proved to be faithful and have avoided covetousness and wickedness. It seems to me that the anti-materialism believers are obsessed with the endless debates about income inequality highlighted by their political idols and they seem to want to literally merge the impoverished class, the middle class and the upper class into one social class of forced equality. I also noticed that the anti-materialism believers are leaning towards socialism, Communism and Marxism, and they don’t seem to realize it. Unsurprisingly, those believers showed signs of opposition towards capitalism.

More importantly, the anti-materialism believers’ views that people are not supposed to prosper is very wrong, and it shows they don’t realize that God is the source, God is the provider and He blesses the faithful abundantly. It should also be noted that the Lord’s reward for the faithful is much greater than any other reward from others! The following holy scriptures below explain why…

Yes, God is more than ready to overwhelm you with every form of grace, so that you will have more than enough of everything—every moment and in every way. He will make you overflow with abundance in every good thing you do.

2 Corinthians 9: 8 (TPT)

The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow to it.

Proverbs 10: 22 (NKJV)

What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor it is the gift of God. I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it. And nothing can be taking from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him. That which is has already been, and what is to be has already been; And God required an account of what is past.

Ecclesiastes 3: 9-15 (NKJV)

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Hebrews 6: 10-12 (NKJV)

Whether you eat or drink, live your life in a way that glorifies and honors God.

1 Corinthians 10: 31 (TPT)

Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord himself and not merely for others. For we know that we will receive a reward, an inheritance from the Lord, as we serve the Lord Yahweh, the Anointed One!

Colossians 3: 23-24 (TPT)

Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, You should be happy, and it shall be well with you.

Psalm 128: 1-2 (NKJV)

For when we were with you we instructed you with these words: “Anyone who does not want to work for a living should go hungry.” Now, we hear rumors that some of you are being lazy and neglecting to work—that these people are not busy but busybodies! So with the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, we order them to go back to work in an orderly fashion and exhort them to earn their own living.

2 Thessalonians 3: 10-12 (TPT)

Jesus said: And behold, I am coming quickly and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work.

Revelations 22: 12 (NKJV)

See? The Lord’s promise of prosperity is real and His reward for the faithful who labored, we avoided sin, who practiced discipline, who proved to be responsible and performed under His command has always been real! Truly nobody has authority to dictate life and prevent people from prospering!

When it comes to material wealth and capital gains accumulated here on Earth, the Lord rewards the faithful through the existing financial and economic systems because He is a just God. If God wants to bless you with profit and provision, He will do it the legal way and through the financial systems we have. More notably, there is also Kingdom Wealth…wealth in the Kingdom of God so much greater and unlimited compared to the wealth in this divided world we live in.

On the aspect of laboring and serving the Lord, faithful Christians are meant to be rewarded abundantly and accordingly by Him. This means that if your work for Him is great as you run your business, He will reward you in due time with a large amount of profit that you can use to grow your business, pay your obligations, pay your employees’ salaries, etc. Very clearly, the anti-materialism believers cannot justify imposing limits on the amount of blessings from the Lord.

Thirdly, it is wrong for the anti-materialism believers to declare that only those living in poverty deserve donations or handouts. For one thing, God’s provision is NOT limited only to those living in poverty. Poverty, by the way, is never part of God’s plan for His children. Poverty is wrong and it is something Satan wants to trap people with so they will remain lost and unsaved as souls. Poverty itself became essential for those who got trapped by religion and unbelief, and this makes them live life with a distorted view about who should receive financial or material assistance or blessings.

In order to receive provision from the Lord, one must have faith (not religion, not idolatry, not tradition and not rituals) in Him. Also it is part of Christianity to be a blessing to others (giving to others cheerfully) regardless of their background, their social class, their occupation, etc. Any faithful and blessed Christian has freedom to decide to share his or her blessing to others in some way or another, and the giving should be done not by obligation but from the heart and with decision. Remember the God is always seeing us on what we do with the blessings He gave us. You want to contribute money to charity, or help a friend dealing with a financial problem, or give money to a Christian ministry so it can continue to preach God’s Word to others? You are free to choose and decide what to give, how much to give, when to give and who to give. The Lord Himself will never forget to bless you in return for blessing others. The Lord loves cheerful givers! Learn from the following scriptures below…

But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Hebrews 13: 16 (NKJV)

Those who live to bless others will have blessings heaped upon them, and the one who pours out his life to pour out blessings will be saturated with favor. People will curse the businessman with no ethics, but the one with a social conscience receives praise from all.

Proverbs 11: 25-26 (TPT)

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9: 6-7 (NKJV)

God loves a cheerful giver! God loves it when His blessed faithful children give to others cheerfully. Just a day after I turned forty-three, I cheerfully gave extra funds (sourced from the earnings of a successful freelance project I completed for a client which was God’s blessing) to our church not on a Sunday but on a Friday. In recent times, I gave to help a brand-new Christian ministry grow as well as to a local motorcycle federation that continually gives back to the less fortunate. I also gave to help church friends who have been trying to raise money for a long trip home. Being a blessing to others is essential, and sharing should definitely not be limited to just one specific group or social class. In fact, being a blessing to others is a practice of generosity and this helps us Christians prevent ourselves from falling into covetousness, greed and wickedness. By being good and obedient to Him, Christians who get blessed can continue to receive His prosperity without ever becoming materialistic! Why the anti-materialism believers and the self-declared pro-poor believers don’t realize this is mind-boggling.

So why is it that there are believers of the anti-materialism extremism around us? Quite obviously, there are sinister forces that continue to poison people’s minds such as Communism, Marxism, socialism, unbelief, secularism and religion (with its idols, traditions and rituals). There are also those who think they are Christian but they do not study the Holy Bible and don’t apply its countless lessons into their lives, instead they end up following man-made rules (written by people who did not write the Holy Bible) which they perceive to be holy sacraments or holy doctrines (that contain derivative and/or distorted interpretations of the Holy Bible’s lessons). There are also those who have been indoctrinated into believing that money is the root of all evil (it is not!) and that capitalism destroys humanity. They don’t seem to realize that God is always watching us and there simply is no hiding from Him.

So what can we the faithful Christians do? We can start by praying for the anti-materialism believers and ask our Lord to enlighten them so they will realize what they believed or have done is wrong, and that they will have opportunities to change themselves for the better – by making the decision to stop moving and turn to the Lord, repent to Him and submit themselves to Him and accept Jesus as their Lord and savior. The anti-materialism believers still have time to decide to save themselves spiritually and we can help them in peaceful ways.

At this point, I would like to reach out to the lost and the unsaved people reading this. You can save yourselves by submitting to the Lord willingly. No force and no coercion here. You have time and freedom to decide. For those who have decided to get born again now, please read the instructions and follow the prayer that I learned from our pastor.

Are you ready? Firstly, open your heart to the Lord and pray this simple prayer in sincerity from your heart:

Dear God,

I believe that Jesus is Your Son, and that He died on the cross to pay the penalty of my sins. I believe that Jesus has been raised from the dead and that He is alive! Right now, I call on the name of Jesus. Jesus, come into my heart. I receive You as my personal Lord and Savior. Forgive me of my sins and cleanse me by the power of Your blood. Thank You for saving me and giving me eternal life! Help me now to follow Your plan for my life. Amen.

Congratulations! You are now a child of God. You have received Holy Spirit in your heart! This is easily your greatest decision ever made and also the greatest miracle of your life. Always praise, thank and honor the Lord. No more darkness in your life caused by politics, radicalism, toxicity, rebellion, religion, unbelief, evil, idolatry, traditions and rituals! Leave behind the darkness of your life and don’t look back to it. With Lord Jesus, you are already moving forward! You also have a personal relationship with God, a relationship that is strictly off-limits to others (even to your household members or biological family members).

With your new life realized, make an effort to acquire a copy of the Holy Bible (New King James Version is recommended), study it and apply its lessons into your life no matter what situation you are in right now. I also recommend you to join a church of born-again Christians near you and find your place in the spiritual family (God’s family).  Worship the Lord together with them and always remember that faith, not religion, is essential in your personal relationship with God.

The Holy Bible – the Word of God – is the ultimate authority to follow. Remember always that Lord Jesus did not die on the cross to start religion. He died to redeem us all and showed that we must be led by faith in Him, faith in the Holy Spirit and faith in God the Heavenly Father. You need an encounter with God!

In ending this, here are some Christian worship YouTube videos for you to enjoy and praise the Lord with. Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! 

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Sharing this Christian piece means spreading the good news of the Lord to others. It can help you save the unsaved and the lost souls out there.

If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com