Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila || Photo courtesy of CBCP

The Catholic and civic communities here are optimistic that Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila, the new bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay (AVT), will be able to help advance their advocacies.

Among others are the advocacies to preserve the corals in the Calamianes from a planned bridge infrastructure project, Save Palawan Movement, indigenous peoples’ (IPs) rights, and those aimed at protecting the environment.

Bishop Edgardo Juanich, Pabillo’s predecessor who resigned in 2018 due to health reasons, in a phone interview on Wednesday (June 30), said the new bishop’s orientation was focused on the marginalized sector citing that Pabillo also chairs the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Commission on the Laity.

“Tuwang-tuwa kami sa development. Ang tingin namin ay ito ang hinahanap ng ating panahon. Ang kanyang orientation ay sa simpleng tao din. It will go even deeper, it will go even nicer, it will even be more effective dahil mas malalim ang kanyang mga pananaw,” Juanich said.

Rev. Fr. Roderick Yap Caabay, Culion parish priest, in a separate statement to Palawan News, said he expects Pabillo to be able to restructure the church on a “more engaging pastoral agenda”.

“He has served the poor people of Manila for 15 years. He was formerly the Chairman of the CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action. He is very passionate on environmental issues such as issues on mining and other environmental destructions. He is very strong on social concerns like issues on farmers, fishers and indigenous people,” Caabay said.

Earlier this year, Pabillo actively supported the One Palawan Movement in opposing the three-way Palawan split during the March 2021 plebiscite, pointing out that the move for division was “railroaded without proper consultation with the public”.

Cynthia Sumagaysay-Del Rosario, one of the proponents of Save Palawan Movement which had been partnering with the church for environmental and sociopolitical activism, said they hope to continue the good relationship between the church and the civil society group with the new leadership, after the diocese had been left without a bishop since 2018.

“We approached him about the division issue, he willingly supported our cause. He even made a personal message in a video appealing for the cancellation of the costly plebiscite because we were still in the midst of a health crisis. Given his integrity and track record, Palawan will be lucky to have him,” Del Rosario said.

Pabillo previously served as a parish priest at the St. Ezequiel Moreno Parish in Puerto Princesa City and in the village of Macarascas before he was elevated to episcopacy.

In February 2020, Pope Francis appointed Pabillo as the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila after Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle left for Rome to assume his new post as prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

Born in 1955 in Victorias City, Negros Occidental, Pabillo was ordained a priest of the Salesians of St. John Bosco by Cardinal Jaime Sin in 1982.

In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as Auxiliary Bishop of Manila, a post he held for almost 15 years.