April 13, 2020 – With God’s grace and your fervent prayers, I am happy to announce that my latest swab test yielded negative from COVID-19 according to the advisory of the Department of Health (DOH) today, Monday.

I would like to thank everyone, especially my immediate relatives, colleagues, churchmates, and my DepEd family, who prayed and expressed moral support for my quick recovery from COVID-19.

I admire our DOH frontliners for extending their assistance when I tested positive. I likewise cherish the regards and prayers for my health sent by my immediate family (Briones, Mirasol and Magtolis), and colleagues at the Cabinet, the UP community, Silliman University church and alumni association, UCCP, Lighthouse Bible Baptist Church, Manila Concert Choir, Carmelite Sisters – Bacolod, and Cosmopolitan Church – UCCP.

I am also grateful to the three million people who expressed kind words and good wishes for my swift recovery on the DepEd’s official social media pages.

My COVID-19 episode, however, is not yet over. I will still remain in isolation for another seven days while those who were in close contact with me are also under monitoring and following strict quarantine protocols.

Nonetheless, I will continue to work as hard as I can to contribute to the measures for the immediate containment of COVID-19 in the country.

Most importantly, I hope I can serve as a beacon of hope in this time of fear and uncertainty. I will keep on praying for those who contracted the disease and our frontliners –our medical workers, our peace and order officers, and our essential workers– for their protection as our country’s race to beat this pandemic drags on.

Only yesterday, we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ who, with his dying breath, forgave and saved a sinner who was crucified along with him. Our Lord did not ask whether he was powerful or not, rich or poor, young or old, man or woman.

He saved that sinner.

As Christians and as Filipinos, we are gratified that one more Filipino has been added to the growing numbers of those declared negative for COVID 19. It is of no consequence whether he/she is rich or poor, old or young. One more life has been saved.

I am hopeful that the situation of our country will improve and this crisis shall pass.

We shall overcome.