Former Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano said the BI intelligence division’s recommendation is a violation of Fox’s rights as an advocate of agrarian reform, of human rights and of just and lasting peace. “Her advocacy is neither a terrorist or criminal act but pro-farmers, pro-people and humane.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL and RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has recommended the cancellation of Australian nun Patricia Anne Fox’s missionary visa and initiation of deportation proceedings for allegedly violating the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940.
According to the memorandum sent by the BI Intelligence Division to Commissioner Jaime Morente, Fox has “violated the conditions of the missionary visa by performing unauthorized activities outside and beyond her supposed religious and apostolic work in Quezon City.”
Citing dictionary’s definition, the BI argued that “Missionary” and “Apostolate” work does not “include giving of support, contributing or involving herself in an assembly or gathering such as rallies, press conferences and fact-finding missions, whether for or against the government wherein the issues and concerns in such assembles are political in nature which involve policies that is left for the determination of the Philippine government…(sic)”
Former Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano said the BI intelligence division’s recommendation is a violation of Fox’s rights as an advocate of agrarian reform, of human rights and of just and lasting peace. “Her advocacy is neither a terrorist or criminal act but pro-farmers, pro-people and humane,” Mariano told Bulatlat.
A supplemental report of the BI Intelligence Division contains documents, which, the BI said, would show that that the 71-year old missionary has “joined, supported and involved herself in rallies, press conferences and fact finding missions.”
The BI cited the following:
– Fact-finding mission on land distribution in Hacienda Luisita in September 2013
– Solidarity fasting to free all political prisoners in December 2016
– Rally to condemn the massacre of 8 Lumad in South Cotabato in December 2017
– Solidarity program at the Davao del Norte Provincial Jail on April 7, 2018
– Coca-Cola workers rally on April 9, 2018
– Press conference: Stop Killing Farmers on April 10, 2018
– Press conference on “Trump and Duterte: Hands off human rights defenders” on April 21, 2018
Mariano these are “not an evidence of guilt but a strong evidence of Sister Pat’s solidarity with the farmers and other oppressed sectors.”
Mariano, also former chairperson of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), said that Fox — in her 27-year missionary work in the Philippines — has always been supporting the struggle of farmers and farmworkers.
Fox’s lawyer Maria Sol Taule said they would file a counter affidavit to refute BI intelligence division’s recommendation.
Taule viewed the BI’s move as political persecution. “Sister Pat’s missionary work involves the defense of human rights and the President attacks those who expose abuses,” Taule told Bulatlat.
Fox was taken into custody by officials of the BI on April 16 and eventually released her following strong condemnation from various sectors.
Two days later, President Duterte admitted that he ordered the investigation of Fox for “her disorderly conduct” and for being an “undesirable alien.”