CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Archbishop Jose Cabantan is the fifth archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro after his installation on August 28 held at the Saint Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral.
Cabantan replaced outgoing Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, who headed the archdiocese for 14 years.
Ledesma said he is confident Cabantan will sustain the programs he has implemented at the archdiocese, which covers Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental, Camiguin, and the town of Malitbog, Bukidnon.
“I am hopeful that he will continue what I have started and I trust that he will do it since he has been working with me even before he became a bishop,” Ledesma.
The retiring Ledesma said it will not be hard for Cabantan to assume the new assignment since he has headed the archdiocese social action ministry, aside from teaching at the St. John Vianney Seminary based in the city.
“After 10 years as the bishop of Malaybalay, I am confident that he is now more experienced when he comes back here,” Ledesma said of Cabantan.
Cabantan’s installation was held amid restrictions in the gathering in St. Augustine on Friday morning of August 28. Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato officiated the installation, which was attended by 200 church leaders, priests, staff, political figures of the province, and Cabantan’s family.
During a press conference on Thursday, August 27, Cabantan has assured that he will continue all the programs Ledesma has initiated in the archdiocese such as environmental protection and support for the peace process.
Ledesma chairs the multi-sectoral Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council (CDORBMC), which was organized in 2010 to protect, preserve, rehabilitate and manage the watersheds, rivers, and forests of the 202,400-hectare Cagayan de Oro river basin, which spans Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental, and Bukidnon.
Ledesma was also the co-convenor of the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP), formed in 2011 through the Norwegian Ecumenical Peace Platform, and has actively been involved in the peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front.
For his part, Ledesma said that after the transition period, he will spend his time teaching part-time at the local seminary and doing some research for the archdiocese.
“Retiring does not really mean moving out, but a moment of recycling,” he said.
Cabantan was the bishop of the diocese of Malaybalay City in Bukidnon since 2010, covers the province of Bukidnon except for Malitbog, Wao town, Lanao del Sur, and Barangay Buda in Davao City.
A chemical engineering graduate, Cabantan was ordained priest on April 30, 1990. He earned his master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry from St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, and his licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Loyola School of Theology in Manila.
He served the archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro in various capacities until he was assigned as the vicar general of the archdiocese from 2007 to 2010. He was appointed to lead the archdiocese by Pope Francis last July 23, 2020. (www.davaotoday.com)