“I am sad. But I am also thankful to the people I have met. I have learned a lot from you. I know that you will continue to persevere for peace, even in the face of arrests and harassments. Wherever I may be, I will always be with you.”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – Australian missionary nun Sr. Patricia Anne Fox remains resolute in the face of an Immigration order denying her visa extension application and requiring her to leave before Nov. 4.
“He will have his day in court,” Sr. Fox told Bulatlat in a phone interview, referring to President Rodrigo Duterte, who days after her arrest said he personally ordered the arrest of the missionary nun whom he described as “foul-mouthed.”
Sr. Fox, who has been in the Philippines for nearly three decades working in solidarity with the poorest of the poor, has been battling against the concerted effort to have her deported since she was arrested in her home in Quezon City back in April. However, the Australian nun has long maintained that her solidarity with landless peasants, urban poor dwellers, and workers, are but part of her missionary work.
“I am sad. But I am also thankful to the people I have met. I have learned a lot from you. I know that you will continue to persevere for peace, even in the face of arrests and harassments. Wherever I may be, I will always be with you,” she said.
Meanwhile, retiring is far from Sr. Fox’s mind. She said that she will probably join a solidarity group when she returns to Australia.
“There are so many tasks waiting to be accomplished. But I haven’t planned anything yet,” she said.
Her lawyers from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers and Sentro para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo said in a joint statement that under the circumstances, Sr. Fox is “compelled to leave under strong protest.”
“We will not allow the government to forcibly expel Sr. Fox out of the country given her stature as a respected missionary nun and human rights defender neither will we give them the wicked pleasure of gloating over this injustice,” the lawyers said.
Peasants from the Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura will stage a protest on Nov. 3.
Her lawyers said Sr. Fox intends to return to the Philippines as soon as Duterte is “out of power and another government more receptive of dissent and who recognizes missionary and human rights work is in place.”
The lawyers said, “our fight is not yet over, we will face the deportation charges against Sr. Fox which is still pending before the Department of Justice. We shall continue to defend the rights of peoples and hold responsible repressive governments in all fora.”