‘Emerging crackdown’ vs foreign activists alarms Pangilinan
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan has expressed alarm over what he described as the “emerging trend on crackdown” against foreign activists in the country.
“We assail the arrest of Sister Patricia Fox, the 71-year-old Australian nun who was taken by immigration agents from her house in Quezon City yesterday, April 16,” Pangilinan, president of Liberal Party, said in a statement.
Fox, a known human-rights advocate, was nabbed by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) Monday, on charges of being an undesirable alien. She has been living in the Philippines for 27 years.
Pangilinan noted that Fox’s arrest came just a day after Giacomo Filibeck, an Italian official of the European Union’s Socialist Party was barred from attending a local conference. Filibeck has been deported for being in the BI’s blacklist.
“The emerging trend on crackdown against foreign activists in the country is alarming as exhibited by the harassment and casual arrests of the two human rights advocates, who were not even in protest activities or rallies when taken into custody,” said the senator.
“These incidents will trigger more questions on what the government is trying to conceal,” Pangilinan, an opposition member, added.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said Filibeck violated the conditions of his stay as a tourist when he came to the Philippines last year.
“He was not supposed to do that because being a tourist, he does not enjoy the rights and privileges of a Philippine citizen, particularly the exercise of political rights which are exclusively reserved to Filipinos,” Morente said. /jpv
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