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11 Philippine dioceses are vacant

11 Philippine dioceses are vacant

Catholic bishops attend Mass in Cebu City. CBCPNews

MANILA— The number of vacant ecclesiastical jurisdictions in the Philippines has increased this year.

The directory of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference showed that eleven of the country’s 86 dioceses are currently vacant.

The longest vacancies are the dioceses of Iba in Zambales and Mati in Davao Oriental that had been so for three years now.

The two jurisdictions have been vacant after former Iba Bishop Florentino Lavarias was appointed archbishop of San Fernando in Pampanga in July 2014 and Bishop Patricio Alo of Mati retired three months later.

In 2016, three more sees were left vacant. These are the dioceses of Kabankalan in Negros Occidental, Bayombong in Nueva Vizcaya, and the Prelature of Isabela in Basilan.

Kabankalan was under Bishop Patricio Buzon for three years after he was reassigned to Bacolod. It’s the same situation in Isabela when Bishop Martin Jumoad was named archbishop of Ozamiz.

Bayombong, on the other hand, was left vacant after Bishop Ramon Villena retired from the post he served for two decades.

Four openings, meanwhile, were caused by recent deaths as were the cases of bishops Leopoldo Tumulak of the Military Ordinariate, Rodolfo Beltran of San Fernando in La Union, Juan de Dios Pueblos of Butuan and Elenito Galido of Iligan.

In addition to current openings, the dioceses of Daet in Camarines Norte and Ilagan in Isabela province have also remained vacant until now.

This after former Daet Bishop Gilbert Garcera was appointed archbishop of Lipa in Batangas and Bishop Joseph Nacua resigned due to health reasons, both in February this year. CBCPNews