BI order vs Sr. Patricia Fox a case of ‘religious persecution’ – priest
The government’s order for Australian nun Patricia Fox to leave the country for supposedly violating the conditions of her missionary visa was a clear case of “religious persecution,” a priest said on Thursday.
Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) spokesperson Fr. Oliver Castor said the government completely disregarded Fox’s long track record of helping the poor and marginalized in the country.
“This is clearly a religious, and more specifically, Christian persecution. A persecution of Christians na nagsasagawa ng kanilang misyon at apostolado sa mga dukha,” Castor said in a press briefing in Quezon City.
(A persecution of Christians who carry out their missions and apostolate to the poor people.)
Castor said that Fox, who served as a national coordinator of the RMP, merely lived up to the teachings of the Church and never advocated for the overthrowing of the government or did things that violated the the conditions of her missionary visa.
“Hindi kinilala [ng gobyerno], hindi tiningnan ‘yung mahabang track record ni Sister Pat sa pagtulong sa mga dukha. Wala nga po itong tinanggap na sweldo o anuman para paglingkuran ang mga mamamayan ng Pilipinas,” he added.
(The government did not recognize Sister Pat’s long track record of helping the poor. She did not even receive a salary or whatever in the course of helping the people of the Philippines.)
In an April 23-order, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) board of commissioners chaired by Commissioner Jaime Morente ordered the revocation of Fox’s visa for allegedly engaging in activities not allowed under the terms of her visa.
The BI accused Fox of engaging in partisan political activities following her participation in an international fact-finding mission in Mindanao early April which looked into the human rights situation in the region, which is currently under martial law.
Fox said she felt very ill of what happened, maintaining that she did not violate the terms of her visa and all she did was to promote the rights of the poor sectors like the farmers and workers.
“Nagulat ako, malungkot ako. Sana may due process, sana may pagkakataon ako para mapaliwanag kung ano ba ang missionary work,” she added.
(I was surprised, sad. I hope I would be given due process, I hope I would be given a chance to explain what missionary work is.)
Fox’s legal counsel, Atty. Jobert Pahilga, said that they are going to question the BI deportation order and even bring it to the Supreme Court if needed, noting that Fox should not be denied of her right to due process.
He explained that they have yet to answer the supplemental report of the BI’s Intelligence Division accusing her of joining protest rallies and fact-finding missions. /kga
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