MANILA, March 16, 2014— Pope Francis has named Kidapawan Bishop Romulo de la Cruz as the new archbishop of Zamboanga.
De la Cruz, 66, will be taking over after Archbishop Romulo Valles was appointed to head the Archdiocese of Davao in February 2012.
The new appointment was officially announced in Rome at 12:00 noon (7:00pm, Manila time) on Saturday, March 15.
Last September, Zamboanga City was devastated by a standoff between the government forces and members of the Moro National Liberation Front.
To date, the area is still reeling from the effects of the siege in which displaced families continue to languish in evacuation centers.
Born on June 24, 1947 in Balasan, Iloilo, the archbishop-elect was ordained a priest on December 8, 1972.
Among his early assignments was as a parish priest in Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat, before becoming the rector of Notre Dame Archdiocesan Seminary in Sharif Kabunsuan.
Fifteen years later after his ordination to the priesthood, he was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Isabela in Basilan.
In January 1989, Dela Cruz became the bishop of Isabela by succession and then later he headed the Diocese of San Jose de Antique.
In May 2008, then Pope Benedict XVI appointed him to the Diocese of Kidapawan.
De la Cruz speaks English, Tagalog, Ilonggo and Chavacano.
No date has been set for the canonical installation of the new Zamboanga archbishop. (CBCPNews)