The current Archbishop of Cebu, the Most Reverend Jose Serofia Palma, D.D., Ph.D, is also the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
Archbishop Palma was born on March 19, 1950, in the Archdiocese of Jaro. He took up philosophy studies at St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary and his theological studies were taken at the St. Joseph Regional Seminary. He received his Sacred Theology licentiate at the University Santo Tomas and earned his doctorate degree in Rome, from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas.
In 1976, Palma was ordained a priest. After his doctorate studies in Rome, he was designated as the rector of St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary prior to his appointment in 1988, as rector of St. Joseph Regional Seminary. He also held a number of positions in different diocesan commissions.
In 1997, Palma was named the parish priest of St. Anthony of Padua, a parish in Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo. During the same year, Pope John Paul II appointed Palma the Titular Bishop of Vazari Diddi and Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu. He was eventually consecrated on January 13, 1998. In 1999, he was name Bishop-Ordinary of the See of Calbayog.
In March 2006, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Jose Palma as the successor of Archbishop-Emeritus Pedro R. Dean, the Archbishop of Palo.
On October 15, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Palma as the successor of Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal. On January 13, 2011, the installation rites for Cebu’s fourth archbishop were held at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.
From December 2009 until July 11, 2011, Archbishop Palma served as the Vice-President of the CBCP. Last July 9, the CBCP elected a new set of officials. During the bi-annual plenary meeting of the CBCP, the council named Archbishop Palma as their new president. His term will officially start on December 1, 2011.