Philippines Deports 71-year-old Nun

Sister Patrica Anne Fox has strongly criticized the Duterte regime

Sister Patricia Anne Fox, 71, was given deportation orders by the Filipino Duterte Government. The Australian was charged with violating the terms which she was expected to follow when she accepted her missionary visa. The Philippine Government alleged that she participated in Philippine politics, and more importantly, against the nationwide policies implemented under the President Rodrigo Duterte administration. The order issued by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration mentions evidence of the nun supporting labor groups and the release of multiple political prisoners.

For Fox, this was expected. In April, Duterte ordered an official investigation into her activities. Immigration officers took her into custody in April and subsequently downgraded her visa status from a Missionary to a temporary visitor one. The bureau wants to stop her from re-entering the island nation, arguing that she violated major terms of the missionary visa. Her lawyers have termed such moves as “persecution.” They have pledged to appeal.

Fox coordinates the activities of nuns belonging to a certain Roman Catholic order. She is a Philippine resident of about 27 years. The Catholic nun has fervently advocated for workers' welfare and human rights. She has openly joined numerous rallies against President Duterte and his regime. The present Philippine Government has been criticized both within and outside the country for stifling dissent. Manila continues its war against illegal drugs, and its numerous battles have taken the lives of thousands of Filipinos, a majority of whom were poor and on the fringes of society.

There is still hope for Sister Fox. Menardo Guevarra, the Philippines Justice Secretary, said that the nun will not be deported while she files her appeal application. Guevarra said her visa was downgraded due to a different offense. According to the report filed by the immigration bureau, Fox broke her missionary visa terms by moving away from her suburban Quezon city located within the metropolitan Manila. She was also charged with interference in domestic politics by attending news conferences which tackled political rights and human rights against the Duterte Government. President Duterte has been known to be sensitive to criticism, particularly from foreign citizens.

As per the immigration bureau, Fox's presence in the Philippines poses a public interest risk. The president himself has lent his support to the immigration bureau's tries to deport the nun. Fox's lawyers have come out strongly against the government order, pointing out that helping poor people cannot be any risk to peace and order, let alone public interest.

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