Pope John Paul II has erected a new Apostolic Vicariate in the Province of Palawan and appointed its first Apostolic Administrator.
The announcements were made in the Vatican at noon of May 13 by the Holy Father, and simultaneously in Manila by Msgr. Robinson Wijesinghe, charge d'affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature.
The newly-created Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay has been separated from the Apostolic Vicariate of Palawan. The new ecclesiastical jurisdicion extends over an estimated land area of 769,110 hectares and covers the towns of Roxas, San Vicente, Busuanga, Agutaya, Magsaysay, and Dumaran. It has a population of 310,383, of whom 265,000 (85 percent) are Catholics, living in 16 parishes.
Msgr. Edgardo S. Juanich, who is presently the administrator of the Mainland Palawan Northernmost Mission in Sibaltan, El Nido, Palawan and director of the Commission on Clergy of the northern district parishes, has been named as its first Aposotolic Administrator and assigned the Titular See of Ausuaga.
The remaining territory of the Apostolic Vicariate of Palawan, with an estimated land area of 894,502 hectares, extends over the central and southern districts of Palawan province, remains under the pastoral governance of Bishop Pedro D. Arigo. It has 21 parishes, with a population of 443,208, 376,726 (86 percent) of whom are Catholics.
Bishop-elect Juanich was born on April 29, 1952 in Poblacion, Taytay, Palawan. He entered the Seminario de San Jose-Minor in Puerto Princesa City after his elementary graduation, and proceeded with his college, philosophy and theology studies at the St. Vincent Ferrer Major Seminary in Jaro, Iloilo City.
He was ordained to the priesthood on July 11, 1976 at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Puerto Princesa City by the late Bishop Gregorio I. Espiga, O.A.R.
His early ministry in the Apostolic Vicariate of Palawan included having served as pastor or parochial vicar of the parishes of Nuestra Señora de Salvacion, Busuanga; St. Jospeh, Narra; St. Joseph, Brooke's Point, St. Francis of Assisi, El Nido. While pursuing masteral studies in Oriental Philosophy at the University of Santo Tomas Graduate School from 1989 to 1992, he served as a guest priest in the Archdiocese of Manila, ministering in the parishes of San Roque in Sampaloc and St. Pius X in Paco and resident chaplain of the Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of the Cross in Manila.
He was spiritual director of the Seminario de San Jose in Puerto Princesa City from 1992-1994, parish priest of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral and episcopal vicar of the central district parishes of Palawan (1994-1999) and pastor of the St. Francis of St. Francis of Assisi parish in El Nido (1999-2000).