Bishop De la Cruz, 66, succeeds Archbishop Romulo Valles who was appointed to head the Archdiocese of Davao in February 2012.

Last September, Zamboanga City was devastated by a standoff between the government forces and members of the Moro National Liberation Front, an Islamic separatist group calling for independence of Mindanao from Manila. The area is still reeling from the effects of the siege and displaced families continue to languish in evacuation centres.

Born on June 24, 1947 in Balasan, Iloilo, the archbishop-elect was ordained a priest on December 8, 1972.
Among his early assignments was as parish priest in Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat, before becoming the rector of Notre Dame Archdiocesan Seminary in Sharif Kabunsuan.
Fifteen years after his ordination, he was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Isabela in Basilan. In January 1989, he became the bishop of Isabela by succession and later headed the Diocese of San Jose de Antique.
In May 2008, he was appointed to the Diocese of Kidapawan. Bishop De la Cruz speaks English, Tagalog, Ilonggo and Chavacano. No date has been set for the canonical installation of the new Zamboanga archbishop.

PIME fathers arrived in Zamboanga City on 1970 doing pastoral work and running program for formation and dialogue tru different religions.