(Photo from the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay, Northern Palawan Facebook page)

BISHOP Broderick Pabillo, the new apostolic vicar of Taytay, Palawan, wants the Church to be more accessible to the poor and those living in isolated communities under his jurisdiction, which is one of the youngest ecclesiastical territories in the Philippines.

Maraming tao dito [sa Palawan] ay kalat-kalat sa mga isla at barangay, at ang hirap nila abutin. They don’t come to Church not because they do not want to but because there is no church around. [There are] a lot of sacrifices sa mga pari to go to different churches and places tapos kaunti lamang ang nagsisimba,” Pabillo told the Varsitarian.

Kaya kailangan silang lapitan. We have to create small communities and small chapels, at dalawin [sila] ng mga pari. ‘Yan ‘yung malaking hamon,” he added.

The Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay is considered by the Vatican as a “mission territory.” It is one of the “youngest” ecclesiastical territories, the “poorest” in terms of material resources and “challenging” in terms of location.

The area had been without a “shepherd” for more than three years following the retirement of Bishop Edgardo Juanich due to health reasons.

Pabillo also vowed to do his best to preserve and fight for Palawan’s natural resources.

“Northern Palawan is blessed with nature. Dito makikita natin na ang dami pang mga forest. It is full of greens at maraming magagandang beaches dito. Isang challenge dito is paano pangalagaan itong gift of nature na ibinigay na hindi sana masira,” he said.

Pope Francis appointed Pabillo to the vicariate in northern Palawan on June 29. He had served for 15 years in the Archdiocese of Manila.

“There was great uncertainty that I would remain as apostolic administrator. It could have been a few months but it turned out to be a year and a half. There was also no way of knowing how long that situation would last [and] that was a great challenge,” he said.

Pabillo has been one of the most vocal Church leaders in the Philippines amid the pandemic. He most notably opposed government restrictions on religious gatherings earlier this year.

“If I see that there are issues that we have to talk about then we need to talk about them. Ang akin namang purpose is not so much to go against the politicians but to educate the people. Kung tamaan ang mga politicians, tamaan sila pero dapat alam ng mga tao kung anong dapat mangyari, anong dapat iiwasan, anong dapat gagawin,” he said.

In his view, Pabillo said the global health crisis did not dampen the faith of Filipinos and instead helped cultivate Christian values.

Mas naging malalim ang kanilang pananampalataya sa Diyos lalung-lalo na isang aspect ng pananampalataya na binibigyang halaga ngayon is our care for those who are not as blessed as we are. Kaya ‘yung mga community pantries lumabas din ‘yan out of Christian faith [at] ang pagtulong sa mga mahihirap,” he said.

Pabillo is a Thomasian. In 1982, he was ordained priest by Cardinal Jaime Sin after finishing sacred theology at the UST Ecclesiastical Faculties.

Reminiscing about his time at the University, the prelate said his fondest memory of UST was the “seriousness of the study.” 

“It was the first institution that I participated in that is made up of a large body of students and teachers. I was happy… in UST. As a priest, napakinabangan ko ‘yung napag-aralan ko,” Pabillo said.

He was incardinated to the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa until his appointment as bishop in May 2006 and subsequent transfer to Manila.

Palawan falls under the ecclesiastical province of the Archdiocese of Manila, which means that Pabillo will work closely together with newly installed Manila archbishop and fellow Thomasian, Cardinal Jose Advincula.

“He (Advincula) assured willingness to help and have a partnership between Manila and northern Palawan. [K]aya hindi naman naputol ang aming kaugnayan sa kanya,” he said.

The Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay is served by 41 secular priests and several religious missionaries working in 22 parishes and four mission stations.


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