MANILA, Philippines – Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox will challenge the deportation order issued by the Bureau of Immigration (BI), as her lawyer said the BI order sets a "very bad precedent" for foreign missionaries like her.
In a press conference on Friday, July 20, Fox's lawyer Sol Taule said their camp will file a motion for reconsideration at the BI on Monday, July 23.
"Because we intend to file a motion for reconsideration on Monday, the decision is not final and executory until we have exhausted all our remedies," Taule said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Taule also criticized the deportation of foreign missionaries under President Rodrigo Duterte.
Before the BI ordered her deportation on Thursday, July 18, the BI deported 3 foreign Methodist missionaries also for supposedly joining political activities.
"We're seeing the start of this trend under President Duterte's government, to deport anyone who is doing good. What is wrong with standing for human rights? It's universal, right?"
Referring to the deportation order, Taule added, "It will set a very bad precedent for other missionaries who also want to stand in solidarity with Filipinos."
The BI on Thursday ordered the deportation of Fox allegedly because she "violated the limitation and condition of her missionary visa that allowed her to engage in missionary/religious work, not political activities, in the Philippines."
Fox earlier rejected the BI's "narrow-minded definition" of missionary work, saying she joins rallies and gatherings of the marginalized as "part and parcel of my apostolate and missionary work."
Reacting to this development, a Carmelite commission on justice and peace condemned the BI order to deport Fox.
"Why is it that the Duterte administration is so adamantly against her missionary work for these poor and marginalized sectors of society?" said the Carmelite priests, reiterating a previous statement.
"We believe that only a despotic tyrant would consider her missionary work as undesirable. Hence, we call on our fellow religious and missionaries and the people of goodwill to stand with Sister Patricia and continue our collective stand of solidarity with the marginalized sectors in our society," they added. – Rappler.com