'Green' bishop takes over diocese

New prelate vows to continue his efforts on mining, environmental activism
'Green' bishop takes over diocese
Bishop Jose Corazon Tala-oc

Philippines
July 20, 2011
Bishop Jose Corazon Tumbagahan Tala-oc, an environmental activist and vocal critic of mining operations in the country, was installed today as prelate of the Diocese of Kalibo. Archbishop Onesimo Gordoncillo of Capiz officiated the installation of Bishop Tala-oc as the fourth bishop of the diocese. Hundreds of lay people, including environmental activists, priests and religious attended the rites held at Saint John the Baptist Cathedral in Aklan province. Environmentalists welcomed the prelate's installation because of his "track record for environmental concerns." While serving as prelate of Romblon since 2003, Bishop Tala-oc became a vocal critic of mining activities in the province. Pope Benedict XVI, in the apostolic letter designating Bishop Tala-oc as prelate of Kalibo, said: "Bishop Talaoc was known to be an environmental advocate in the nearby island province of Romblon where he serves as Bishop for eight years." "I am glad that I am now at home. I will then continue what I have been doing for the past years, this time as the new Bishop of Kalibo," the prelate said. He said he will continue his environmental work and his calling as the "servant of God." During the 16th anniversary of the Philippine Mining Act last March, Bishop Tala-oc rallied the people in the province of Romblon, to become "faithful stewards of creation" as he asserted that taking care of the environment is "a moral intergenerational responsibility." Pamalakaya, an alliance of fishing community organizations, expressed hope that with Bishop Tala-oc's installation the Church will be more active in opposing projects that threaten the environment. Various groups have raised concern over "reclamation projects" in the town of Caticlan and the island resort of Boracay. Father Maglore Placer, parish priest of Balabag parish on Boracay island, said the arrival of Bishop Talaoc will boost the diocese's campaign against the plan to build a casino in Boracay. Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Tala-oc prelate of Kalibo on May 25, 2011, after Bishop Jose Romeo Lazo was transferred to the Diocese of San Jose in Antique province. Bishop Tala-oc was born on June 16, 1950, in Tagas, Tangalan, Aklan. He studied philosophy at St. Pius X Seminary in Roxas City and theology at the University of Sto. Tomas in Manila. He was ordained priest on April 9, 1979. Pope John Paul II appointed him to the episcopacy on June 11, 2003. Related reports:
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