The Catholic Diocese of Masbate has a new bishop. Most Rev. Jose B. Bantolo was installed as the new bishop of the diocese on Tuesday morning, filling the post that has been vacant for more than a year now.
The Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, installed the Most Rev. Jose B. Bantolo as the third bishop of Masbate. The installation ceremony was also attended by Masbate governor Rizalina L. Seachon-Lañete, Caceres Archbishop Leonardo Z. Legazpi, and Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma.
Bantolo replaced the 2nd Masbate Bishop Joel Z.Baylon who was re-assigned to the Diocese of Legaspi in 2009. The first bishop of Masbate was the late Bishop Porfirio R. Ilagan.
Earlier last June 2011, the Vatican Information Service (VIS) officially announced the appointment by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI of the Rev. Fr. Jose B. Bantolo, Vicar General of the Diocese of San Jose Antique, as the new Bishop-Elect of the Diocese of Masbate.
Bantolo was born in Guisijan, Laua-an, Antique on 12 November 1960. After secondary school, he completed philosophical studies at the St. Peter Seminary and the St. Anthony’s College, Antique, and theology at the San Jose Seminary in Quezon city. He was ordained a priest on April 21, 1986 and assigned at the Diocese of San Jose de Antique.
After his pastoral service at the St. Augustine parish of Patnongon in 1988, he was appointed rector of St. Peter’s Seminary in San Pedro, Antique.
In 2000, he completed his Licentiate in Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He continued his studies of insights in Applied Theology at Berkeley, California.
In 2001 he became the Diocesan Treasurer of Antique. By 2007, he was the president of St. Anthony’s College, Antique, and much later the vicar general of the diocese.
On June 15, 2011 Rev. Msgr. Jose B. Bantolo was appointed bishop of Masbate. By August 22, 2011 he was ordained bishop of Masbate.
The Diocese of Masbate is under the Metropolitan See of the Archdiocese of Caceres. Other dioceses under the ecclesiastical province of Caceres include Legaspi, Daet, Libmanan, Virac and Sorsogon.