Basilan’s former bishop is now Kidapawan’s

The appointment of De la Cruz was was announced in the Vatican around 12 noon on Wednesday (6 p.m. in the Philippines), according to Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines.

Since January last year, the Diocese of Kidapawan was without a head when Bishop Romulo Valles, now Archbishop, was transferred to the Archdiocese of Zamboanga.

The Diocese of Kidapawan, formed by the late Pope John Paul II in 1976 with territories from the Archdiocese of Cotabato, is comprised of 11 towns in North Cotabato, three towns in Maguindanao, and a town in Sultan Kudarat.

It has 27 priests, 8 brothers, 48 nuns, and 69 seminarians.

De la Cruz, who is turning 61 on June 24, was born in Balasan, Iloilo, but has spent most of his years in Mindanao.

Photo courtesy of the CBCP website.

The bishop attended the Maltana Elementary School in Tampakan, South Cotabato from 1954 to 1960 and first three years of High School at the Notre Dame of Kidapawan boys' department before proceeding to the Notre Dame Archiocesan Seminary in Sultan Kudarat, Shariff Kabungsuan (formerly Maguindanao), according to the website of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

He had his seminary training at the Notre Dame Archdiocesan Seminary in Sultan Kudarat, Shariff Kabungsuan; at the Notre Dame University in Cotabato City; and at the Saint Francis Xavier Major Seminary in Davao City and was ordained priest at age 29.

He had further studies at the Institute on Religious Formation at Saint Louis, Missouri, United States.

He served as parish priest in Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat, and as rector of the Notre Dame Archdiocesan Seminary.

He served as bishop of Basilan starting 1989, until he was transferred to the Diocese of San Jose de Antique in 2002.

No date has been set yet for De la Cruz's installation as the new bishop of Kidapawan, according to the Apostolic Nunciature. (MindaNews)