MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) denied the motion for reconsideration of Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox, and affirmed its order for her to leave the country.
The order to leave is based on the BI’s forfeiture of Fox’s missionary visa for “engaging in political activities,” which foreigners are prohibited from doing in the Philippines, according to an immigration circular.
“The BI Board dismissed Fox’s assertion that the bureau forfeited her visa without due process and that allegations that she engaged in political activities were not backed with solid evidence,” the BI said in a statement on Wednesday, May 23.
The BI said Fox “acted beyond allowed activities under her visa by working outside of Barangay Amihan in Quezon City,” referring to the place she declared in her visa application as her place of missionary work.
Fox, 71 years old, has helped farmers and peasants in the country, including Kidapawan farmers in the southern Philippines who figured in a fatal mass protest over rice subsidies in 2016.
Photos of Fox visiting political prisoners in Compostela Valley, and at the picket of Coca-Cola workers in Davao City, were shown to the nun when immigration authorities detained her back in April.
According to BI Spokesperson Dana Sandoval, Fox is not considered deported yet as a deportation complaint on the same grounds is still pending.
“Pending resolution of the deportation complaint, Fox could still return to the country as a tourist after she leaves as she is not yet in the bureau’s blacklist,” Sandoval said.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier admitted ordering the BI to investigate Fox because of “disorderly conduct.” Duterte said Fox’s supposed remarks against the Philippine government constitute a “violation of sovereignty.” – Rappler.com