“…But what only the bureau fails to understand (or care about) is that you cannot predict that a person is fit to travel and not in danger from a deep vein thrombosis-which i have previously suffered-and nearly died from with a blood clot in my lung… it seems to me that the bureau is putting my life at risk.”
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA — The Bureau of Immigration has ordered Australian lawyer and human rights defender Gil Boehringer to board a flight to Ghuangzhou, China then to Sydney at 12 noon today, August 14, according to Karapatan legal counsel Maria Sol Taule.
BI has held Boehringer in custody since he arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 1
on August 8. Immigration officials flatly told the 84-year-old human rights defender that he is in the agency’s blacklist.
Boehringer, who is married to a Filipina, has been prevented from entering the Philippines for allegations he has not been notified. Boehringer said nothing has been given to him in writing for the past six days.
Boehringer told Bulatlat in a message the BI has been adamant in deporting him even without medical assessment that he is fit to travel. Boehringer has a history of an almost fatal pulmonary embolism, which is often caused by blood clots that travel to the lungs from the legs and deep vein thrombosis, or the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein.
Boehringer said that his own doctor and the airport doctors have certified that they were unable to determine if he was fit to travel. “…But what only the bureau fails to understand (or care about) is that you cannot predict that a person is fit to travel and not in danger from a deep vein thrombosis-which i have previously suffered-and nearly died from with a blood clot in my lung,” Boehringer said. “… it seems to me that the bureau is putting my life at risk.”
Boehringer said, “My lawyers are attempting to get the Bureau and/or the airline (which will be violating international law and my basic human right to travel safely etc) to do the right and just thing, the rational, logical thing:let me see a doctor in a facility outside the airport for an assessment and treatment that could make the difference!”
Boehringer belied the allegations of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) that he is a “communist terrorist.”
“I’m not a terrorist. I’m a human rights defender. I have attempted to enter in an intellectual way into the national dialogue on the problems of the Philippines and the policies of the government,” he said in a Facebook post.
Boehringer said this is “basically part of the campaign of the government undertaken to see to it that foreigners are not allowed into the country or removed” , citing the deportation of three young Methodist missionaries from the United States, Zimbabwe and Malawi and the threat of deportation against another Australian lawyer and missionary Patricia Ann Fox.
The Australian human rights defender also denied BI’s claims that he participated in rallies in November 2015 in Manila and in February this year.
Boehringer confirmed that he went to Caraga region in February not to attend a rally but to observe the educational activities at a primary school for Lumad children run by the Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS).
In a statement, the Confederation of Lawyers in Asia and the Pacific (COLAP) condemned the denial of legal counsel and the immigration ban against Boehringer.
“Boehringer, is a known human rights lawyer and advocate of the rights of indigenous people, coming himself from Australia where there are serious violations of the rights of the aborigines. His advocacy for the rights of the Lumads in the Philippines and for other victims of human rights deserve commendation and not harassment by the Philippine authorities,” the group said.