PH orders Sr. Fox to leave the country

PH orders Sr. Fox to leave the country

Sr. Patricia Fox (center) at the Bureau of Immigration in Manila where she was detained for a day, April 16, 2018. CBCPNews

By Roy Lagarde

April 25, 2018

Manila, Philippines

After 27 years, the Philippine government has barred an Australian nun from continuing her mission, ordering her to leave the country within a month.

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has forfeited the missionary visa of Sr. Patricia Fox, which was due to expire on Sept. 5, this year, for allegedly engaging in “partisan political politics”.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the 71-year-old nun violated the immigration law for engaging in “partisan political activities”.

“She (Fox) was found to have engaged in activities that are not allowed under the terms and conditions of her visa,” he said.

The BI chief said that Fox’s visa granted her only the privilege to engage in missionary work and not in “political activities”.

Fox, who was earlier detained by the BI for a day, denied engaging in partisan political activities, saying that helping farmers, indigenous peoples, and workers is part of her mission.

In an order issued on April 23, the BI also directed the deactivation of her alien certificate of registration.

“We direct Fox to leave the Philippines within 30 days from receipt of this order,” said the agency, few days after President Rodrigo Duterte admitted ordering investigation against the nun for supposedly violating the country’s sovereignty.

But Fox may still enter and leave the country as “tourist” despite the forfeiture of her visa, said BI spokesperson Antonette Mangrobang.

She also clarified that Fox’s deportation case is still pending before the BI Special Prosecutor, as the nun has yet to file her counter-affidavit.

After the parties have been heard, Mangrobang said the Board of Commissioners will deliberate on whether or not Fox will be deported and barred from entering the country again.

A missionary of the Notre Dame de Sion (NDS), Fox has been working working in the country since 1990.

Sr. Mary Babic, NDS Superior General in Rome, has appealed to the Philippine government to spare Fox from possible deportation just for attending to “those in need at the peripheries of society”.

“We ask the government of the Philippine to allow Sr. Pat and other fellow church people to continue their missionary work in the Philippines,” Babic said.