The Bureau of Immigration has ordered the deportation of Australian missionary Sr Patricia Anne Fox for allegedly violating the limitations and conditions of her stay in the Philippines as a missionary visa holder.
In a resolution received by Fox’s lawyers Thursday, July 19, the BI said Fox violated Commonwealth Act No. 163, otherwise known as The Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, making her “undesirable” in the Philippines.
The BI said the nun, a member of the congregation Notre Dame de Sion and coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines in Central Luzon, “illegally engaged and interfered in Philippine political activities” in 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Last April 16, BI agents arrested and detained Sr Patricia Fox after she participated in a human rights fact-finding mission in Mindanao.
Fox and her lawyers explained that her defense of human rights and campaign for land reform are religious in nature.
The nun’s troubles began after President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened her with deportation earlier this year. The president has also repeatedly derided Fox in subsequent speeches, even calling the nun’s God as “stupid”.
Fox, however, gained support from many churches as well as strangers. The Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives later filed a resolution for her naturalization as a Filipino.
Motion for reconsideration
Atty. Ma Sol Taule, one of Fox’s lawyers, told Kodao they are considering filing a motion for reconsideration at the BI on Monday, July 23.
“[Fox’s] legal team is dismayed [with the BI resolution]. The BI’s decision is wrong, Sr. Pat has been doing her missionary work in the Philippines for the past 27 years undisturbed by any deportation case,” Taule said.
Taule added that helping the poor is not a risk to public interest, peace or order and that, in fact, the government must thank [Fox] for her selfless service to the oppressed Filipino people.
“Duterte has no basis to say that Sr Pat is an undesirable alien, unless his definition of undesirability is helping the poor,” Taule added.
The lawyer said the Fox’s missionary work with the poor is not defiance to the [Duterte] government but a firm solidarity to the poor and their struggles. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)