The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representative has filed a bill proposing to make a nun under threat of being deported a Filipino citizen.
The parties that include Bayan Muna, ACT Teachers’ Party. Gabriela Women’s Party, Kabataan and Anakpawis said Sr Patricia Fox of the Notre Dame of Sion said she deserves Filipino citizenship for giving a big part of her life to poor Filipinos.
“Congress has granted Filipino citizenship to foreigners who donated schools or multi-purpose halls to Filipino communities, but Sr Pat gave countless Filipino farmers and indigenous peoples a big part of her life,” Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate said.
“It is but right for us Filipinos to recognize this and show our appreciation by making her one of us Filipinos,” Zarate said.
Fox, an Australian missionary in the Philippines has been in the country in the past 27 years, one time becoming the Central Luzon coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines.
Her congregation was invited to conduct missionary work in the country by the late Prelature of Infanta Bishop Julio X. Labayen.
Fox incurred the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte by participating in a fact-finding mission in Mindanao earlier this year that documented human rights violations under martial law in the island.
She has since been arrested by the Bureau of Immigration and subsequently ordered to leave the country. She won a reprieve from the Department of Justice that said the order must be investigated further.
In asking Congress to grant Fox Filipino citizenship, Makabayan said the nun was accepted by the local communities she served and treated as one of their own.
“Instead of prosecuting and deporting Sr Pat through false charges, the government should instead recognize and acknowledge her sacrifices in almost three decades of her selfless service to the Filipino people,” Zarate said.
Zarate added that their bill is a response to the call of many farmers, fisherfolk and indigenous people whose lives were touched and helped by the nun. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)