Australian missionary to appeal BI’s deportation order

“Standing with the people in their calls for justice is a moral obligation. Why do they perceive that as criticism? Are they guilty?”

By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — Australian missionary Patricia Anne Fox said she will challenge the order of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) deporting her and blacklisting her from reentering the Philippines.

In a resolution dated July 19, the BI ordered the deportation of Fox. The BI maintained that Fox is an “undesirable alien�� and that she has “violated the limitations and conditions of her missionary visa” by joining political activities.

In a phone interview with Bulatlat, Fox said she is ready to challenge the BI’s decision. “There’s still hope. For me, it [the decision] has no basis.”

In its resolution, the BI deemed that Fox’s activities such as joining rallies and fact-finding missions are “evidently beyond the nature of her missionary work.” The BI argued, “… to allow Fox to participate in political rallies would open the floodgates for other aliens unbridled right to criticize government by joining rallies to the detriment of public peace and order.”

For Fox, she is only living by the social teachings of the Church.

“Standing with the people in their calls for justice is a moral obligation. Why do they perceive that as criticism? Are they guilty?” Fox told Bulatlat. “I never called for the overthrow of the government nor committed any serious crime,” she added.

Fox, who received the news while attending the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization held at the University of Santo Tomas earlier today, said the Catholic bishops expressed their support for her.

Maria Sol Taule, one of Fox’s lawyers, said they will file a motion for reconsideration with the BI on Monday, July 23.

The 71-year-old nun said the BI should respect her right to due process and not forcibly deport her until her appeal would have been resolved.

She lamented that the BI did not give her any chance to be heard. After submitting her counter-affidavit, the BI did not call for a hearing.

Fox, who is also a lawyer, asserted that even foreigners have the freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

Fox, who has been doing missionary work in the Philippines for 27 years, was arrested by BI agents for alleged “illegal political activities.” President Rodrigo Duterte himself admitted that he ordered the investigation of Fox for “disorderly conduct.”

Fox joined an international fact-finding mission in the first week of April that investigated human rights abuses in different parts of Mindanao. ()

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