Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday appointed three Filipino Catholic Church officials to their new posts in one day. The three prelates who were given new assignments were: Laoag Bishop Sergio Utleg, appointed archbishop of Tuguegarao; Msgr. Jose Bantolo, appointed bishop of Masbate; and Msgr. David William Valencia Antonio, as auxiliary bishop of Nueva Segovia based in Vigan City.

Bishop Utleg is currently the chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission Indigenous Peoples. He will succeed Archbishop Diosdado Talamayan, 78. Utleg will be serving some 1.3 million Catholics, 82 priests and 122 religious.

Monsignor Bantolo is presently the vicar general of the Diocese of San Jose de Antique. He was born in Guisijan town in Antique on November 12, 1960 and was ordained priest on April 21, 1986. The Diocese of Masbate had no prelate since 2009. Bantolo will serve the diocese with a population of 704,000 Catholics, 56 priests, and 18 religious.

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