“They evaded all the substantial issues we have raised right from the very beginning.”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – Australian missionary nun Sr. Patricia Anne Fox has maintained, in press conference today Aug. 31, that she is just doing her job as a church worker, following the recent decision of the Bureau of Immigration to uphold its earlier resolution canceling her missionary visa.
“I just want this case to be over because I want to prove that I have done nothing wrong but have been doing what church people must do,” Sr. Fox said in Filipino.
In a decision dated Aug. 23, the Bureau of Immigration upheld its earlier decision to cancel Sr. Fox’s missionary visa as they insisted that the Australian nun has violated the conditions and limitations of her stay as a non-immigrant for her supposed involvement in political activities.
Sr. Fox has been in the Philippines for nearly three decades, serving the poorest of the poor such as landless peasants and urban poor families facing demolition of their homes.
On April 16, Sr. Fox was arrested in her home in Quezon City. No less than President Rodrigo Duterte said that he personally ordered her arrest. She has been battling against government effort’s to have her deported ever since.
“Our work is to deliver the good news. What is the good news for peasants? Land. What is the good news for you? Justice for those killed. What is the good news for workers? Regular work and salary. Those are the things that I have been doing and there is nothing wrong with that. That is the task of a church worker,” Sr. Fox said.
The missionary visa of Sr. Fox will expire on Sept. 5, said one of her lawyers Jobert Pahilga, adding that the Australian nun has been applying for the renewal of her missionary visa since July 5, which government authorities refused to accept.
For the past 27 years, lawyer Maria Sol Taule said, Sr. Fox has been renewing her missionary visa without any problem until President Duterte ordered her deportation.
Taule said Immigration authorities, in its recent decision, dismissed their motion for reconsideration because they allegedly did not present any new argument to back Sr. Fox’s appeal to stay and continue her missionary work in the Philippines.
However, she noted that the BI, in turn, never faced or addressed the issues that were raised by Sr. Fox and her lawyers.
“They evaded all the substantial issues we have raised right from the very beginning,” she quipped, adding that her lawyers will continue to exhaust all legal measures for the Australian nun.