Manila Bulletin

CBCP says 11 dioceses in PH vacant


Eleven of the country’s 86 archdioces­es and dioceses are vacant.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippine­s (CBCP) said reassignme­nts, retirement, and deaths have left the 11 ecclesiast­ical jurisdicti­ons vacant.

The Dioceses of Iba in Zambales and Mati in Davao Oriental have the longest vacancies at three years, said a CBCP News post.

Former Iba Bishop Florentino Lavarias was appointed archbishop of San Fernando in Pampanga in July, 2014 while Bishop Patricio Alo of Mati retired in October, 2014.

The mandatory retirement age for bishops is 75 years old.

In 2016, the Dioceses of Kabankalan in Negros Occidental, Bayombong in Nueva Vizcaya, and the Prelature of Isabela in Basilan were also left vacant after Kabankalan Bishop Patricio Buzon was reassigned to Bacolod after serving Kabankalan for three years.

Former Prelature of Isabela Bishop Martin Jumoad, on the other hand, was named archbishop of Ozamiz. The Diocese of Bayombong, meanwhile, was left vacant after Bishop Ramon Villena retired from the post he held for two decades.

Recent deaths of Church leaders have also left four dioceses vacant. These include the passing of Bishops Leopoldo Tumulak of the Military Ordinariat­e of the Philippine­s, Rodolfo Beltran of San Fernando in La Union, Juan de Dios Pueblos of Butuan, and Elenito Galido of Iligan.

In addition, the CBCP said the Dioceses of Daet in Camarines Norte and Ilagan in Isabela Province have also remained vacant until now. Former Daet Bishop Gilbert Garcera was appointed archbishop of Lipa in Batangas. Ilagan Bishop Joseph Nacua, on the other hand, resigned due to health reasons, both in February this year.

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