Valles, 55, made the appeal as he said goodbye to the diocesan priests and parishioners of the Diocese of Kidapawan during the New Year’s mass held at Our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces Cathedral on December 31.
“The Pope entrusted me with a bigger responsibility,” he said. Valles takes over from Archbishop Carmelo Morelos who turned 75 in December 2005.
Valles vowed to adopt the programs that he implemented in the Kidapawan Diocese in his new assignment but added he would support existing priorities of his predecessors when he assumes the post in Zamboanga.
Valles is a staunch supporter of respect for human rights, indigenous peoples, inter-religious dialogues, and good governance, among others.
He is also a peace advocate and is also known as the “Biking Bishop” as he led priests in his diocese to “bike for peace” in his diocese and beyond, during the Mindanao Week of Peace in 2005. In the Mindanao Week of Peace in 2006, he joined Father Amado Picardal of Davao City in a “bike for peace” around the city. Earlier, in the summer of 2006, he also joined Picardal in the first and last leg of the latter’s “bike for life and peace” around Mindanao.
Valles is also credited for his efforts at uniting all political parties vying for various positions during the national and local elections in 2004.
He organized the local election monitoring and let all political aspirants all over the province sign a peace covenant for orderly and peaceful elections.
Valles also made contributions in strengthening the relationship of families and their respective basic ecclesiastic communities.
Valles’ successor at the Diocese of Kidapawan has yet to be named.
The Diocesan Clergy of Kidapawan in the meantime will choose through voting a caretaker who would run and lead the diocese until Valles’ successor is named.
Valles, who hails from Maribojoc, Bohol, Valles was ordained priest on April 6, 1976.
He took up AB Philosophy from the St. Francis Xavier Regional Major Seminary in Davao City from 1968 to 1972 and Theology from 1972 to 1976.
He went to the Pontificio Ateneo SAnt’ Anselmo in Rome, Italy from 1985 to 1990 for a Licentiate in Sacred Liturgy and obtained his MA in Religious Education from the Ignatian Institute for Religious Education, Ateneo de Davao University in 1997.
Valles served as assistant parish priest at the Christ the King Cathedral Parish in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, from 1976 to 1978. From there he became parish priest of San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish in Mati, Davao Oriental. From 1982 to 1984, he was parish priest of the Christ the King Cathedral Parish in Tagum City and later as vicar general of the Diocese of Tagum.
Valles has been teaching Scripture at the Queen of Apostles College Seminary, Tagum, Davao in 1983. From 1990, he taught Fundamental Liturgy, Sacramental Theology at the St. Francis Xavier Regional Major Seminary, Davao City where he also became coordinator of the Spiritual Formation Year.
He was vice rector of the Seminary from 1992 to 1993 and Rector of the St. Francis Xavier Regional Major Seminary. (Williamor A. Magbanua/MindaNews)