Jesuit Father Tabora has been elected president of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), the country's largest private educational organization.
Father Tabora was elected during a meeting of the organization in Cebu on Sept. 30.
The priest, who is president of the Ateneo de Davao University, said member schools wanted to make sure that the agenda of CEAP will be pursued.
"They wanted to make sure that if I became president, [they] would not be disregarded in the strength and independence of the public positions we take," said Father Tabora.
"They wanted to make sure that my loyalty to the church, its moral imperatives, and to the CEAP is stronger than my loyalty to President [Rodrigo] Duterte, who for the record is not my spiritual directee," he added.
The priest is known to have supported the president's pronouncements, especially those that benefit the poor and the environment.
"It is my very deep conviction that effective leadership is not possible without the considered and free support of the members of the board and of all the regions," he told Catholic school administrators gathered in Cebu City.
He assured Catholics schools that dealings with the government will be "in obedience to the moral imperatives of our church, in pursuit of the common good that includes not only our schools but multiple actors, interest groups and diverse confessions and religions in our plural society."
The CEAP has 1,345 member schools.
Father Joel Tabora, SJ, has been elected as new president of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines. (Photo by Rico Ibarra)