Makabayan lawmakers seek Filipino citizenship for Sister Patricia Fox

MANILA, Philippines – Progressive lawmakers forming the House of Representatives' Makabayan bloc filed a bill seeking to grant Filipino citizenship to Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox.  

The following legislators filed House Bill (HB) No. 7806 on Wednesday, May 30, the last session day for Congress:

In the explanatory note of their bill, the Makabayan lawmakers said Fox has served Filipino farmers, indigenous peoples, and other marginalized communites for almost 3 decades. 

"By living with the poor and oppressed, Sister Pat has come to understand, experience, and embrace the culture and the struggle of the poor Filipino majority.  Not only that she speaks their language, Sister Pat was accepted by the Filipino communities and was treated as one of their own because she lives and struggles with them," the lawmakers said.

For the Makabayan bloc, granting Filipino citizenship to Fox would be a "fitting recognition" for her service to Filipinos. 

"Granting Filipino citizenship to Sister Patricia Ann Fox would be much more than a fitting recognition for her selfless service to the poor and oppressed Filipinos. It is a response to the call of many farmers, fisherfolk, and indigenous peoples whose lives were touched and helped by Sister Pat," added the lawmakers.

HB 7806 was filed 5 days after Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra extended Fox's deadline to leave the Philippines.  

Fox, a missionary nun in the Philippines for 27 years, drew the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte after she joined an international fact-finding and solidarity mission in Mindanao. (READ: Duterte admits ordering probe vs Australian nun)

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) had detained the 71-year-old nun back in April, then later released her. The BI then ordered Fox to leave the Philippines by May 25, the same day Fox filed a petition for review before the DOJ, appealing that she be allowed to stay in the Philippines.

HB 7806, however, will have an uphill battle at the House, where most legislators are allied with Duterte. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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