Pope Francis has named Bishop Romulo T. De La Cruz the new archbishop of Zamboanga in the Philippines. At the time of the announcement, Bishop De La Cruz was heading the Diocese of Kidapawan.
The new archbishop was born in Balasan, 24 June 1947, and received his priestly formation at the Grand Seminary in Davao City. He pursued further study at the Summer Institute on Pastoral Counseling in Quezon City, and then at the Institute on Religious Formation in St. Louis, United States.
He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Cotabato on 8 December 1972, after which he served as a pastor. From 1976 to 1983, he was rector of Notre Dame Archdiocesan Seminary in Cotabato, after which he was named vicar general.
In 1987, he was named coadjutor bishop of Isabela and ordained to the episcopate the following year, becoming the ordinary in 1989.
In 2001, he was named coadjutor at San José de Antigue, becoming the ordinary the following year. He was named bishop of the Diocese of Kidapawan in 2008.
The buzz I heard was that another bishop was being considered for the post but that this bishop declined, even telling the nuncio that he ain't going nowhere.
Well, thanks to Bishop Mulong, Zamboanga now is off the sede vacante list. Zamboanga has long been without a bishop ever since Archbishop Mulong Vallez was moved to Davao. Both archbishops are Romulo.
I expect another archbishop to be named soon and another diocese to be sede vacante.