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CBCP: Give Sr. Fox a chance to continue serving the people

CBCP:  Give Sr. Fox a chance to continue serving the people

A supporter hugs Sr. Patricia Fox after a press conference in Quezon City, April 26, 2018. ROY LAGARDE

By Roy Lagarde

April 27, 2018

Manila, Philippines

As the clock is ticking for Sr. Patricia Fox, the Catholic hierarchy has appealed to the government to revoke an expulsion order it made against the Australian nun.

Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, asked the government to let Fox stay in the country “and continue serving our people”.

“We sincerely make an appeal that the authorities may make a reconsideration of their for Sr. Patricia Fox to leave the country,” Valles said.

“We believe further that she is moved to serve our people by the love of Christ,” he said.

The Bureau of Immigration revoked the 71-year-old nun’s missionary visa on April 23 and gave her 30 days to leave the country for being an “undesirable alien”.

The agency also warned of deporting Fox in case of non-compliance of its order.

Lawyer Jobert Pahilga, Fox’s counsel, decried the haste of the BI order and denying the nun of her right to due process.

He said that they would submit Fox’s counter-affidavit and motion for reconsideration before the BI next week, adding that they were prepared to bring the case to even to the Supreme Court if needed.

Fox said she was surprised over the decision, reiterating that she did not violate the terms of her missionary visa.

“I hope I would be given due process and would be given a chance to explain what my missionary work is,” she said.

A network of church organizations led by the Solidarity With the Poor Campaign (SWPC) earlier criticized the government’s decision to deport Fox who, for the last 27 years, “dedicated herself alongside with the oppressed and marginalized sectors”.

Fr. Rudy Abao, lead convenor of SWPC, said the move is not only an attack against Fox but also “a suppression of the poor Filipinos whom she has wholeheartedly served”.

“We demand the Duterte government to hands off Sister Fox and other foreigners who uphold human rights and basic welfare of the Filipino people,” he said.

“Helping the poor and needy has nothing to do with partisan politics, but a humane universal dee and a basic teaching of Jesus,” Abao added.