Four ecclesiastical territories in the Philippines remain “sede vacante” or without a bishop after Pope Francis filled two vacancies early this week.
According to the bishops’ directory, two in the list are in the Mindoro region – the apostolic vicariates of San Jose and Calapan.
Both have been vacant since 2018.
In northern Luzon, the Diocese of Alaminos is still waiting for the successor of Archbishop Ricardo Baccay, who was appointed to Tuguegarao in 2019.
The most recent vacancy opened after Cardinal Jose Advincula was transferred from the Archdiocese of Capiz to the Archdiocese of Manila.
Six pastoral jurisdictions were actually vacant when Archbishop Charles Brown, papal nuncio to the Philippines, arrived in the country in November last year.
On June 29, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila to the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay, which has been vacant since November 2018.
The pope also named Monsignor Noel Pedregosa, the current administrator of Malaybalay, as the bishop of the same diocese.
Monsignor Pedregosa is the first to be ordained to the episcopacy under the term of Archbishop Brown as apostolic nuncio to the Philippines.
At least one prelate is also reaching the traditional retirement age of 75 this year and two others in 2022.
Addressing the bishops for the first time during their online plenary assembly in January, Archbishop Brown assured that the nunciature is “working with urgency” to fill the vacancies.
“I have every hope that we will see some results soon,” he told the bishops.