Philippine authorities have ordered the immediate deportation of Australian Sister Patricia Fox, superior of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion in the Philippines, after she was declared an “undesirable alien” by the Immigration Bureau.
Ucanews.com reported that Sister Fox, who has worked in the Philippines for 27 years, would appeal the ruling.
In a 10-page resolution released on July 19, the Immigration Bureau found Sister Fox “in violation of the limitations and conditions of her missionary visa” for reportedly joining partisan political activities.
Bureau spokeswoman Dana Krizia Sandoval said the board of commissioners decided Sister Fox’s actions were “inimical to the interest of the state.”
Ucanews.com reported the nun has also been put on the bureau’s blacklist, barring her re-entry. Sandoval said the bureau had received reports that Sister Fox attended political demonstrations, even holding banners with political messages, and wearing shirts representing leftist groups.
The immigration official said joining protest rallies “in collaboration with labor or cause-oriented groups is not within the ambit of the religious visa” granted to Sister Fox.
“Allowing (Sister Fox) to participate in rallies would open floodgates for other aliens to join rallies to the detriment of public peace and order,” said a bureau statement.
Sister Fox was arrested April 16 and detained overnight before an order to leave the country was issued. The Immigration Bureau revoked Sister Fox’s missionary visa April 23 for allegedly participating in “partisan political activities.” The bureau also “deactivated” the nun’s alien certificate of registration. Ucanews.com reported the justice department declared the forfeiture of the nun’s visa by the Immigration Bureau “null and void” on June 18 because there was no legal basis to declare it forfeit.
Sister Fox said she was not surprised about the new deportation order.
“We will file an appeal before the Department of Justice and will seek all available legal remedies,” said the nun, who is also a lawyer.
She told ucanews.com she was saddened at how the Philippine government perceives “living and working with the poor as a partisan political activity.”
“To serve the poor is to amplify their voices and accompany them in their fight for their political, social, and economic rights,” she said, adding that is part of her “missionary mandate.”
“It is not political but rather religious,” Sister Fox said in an interview after the decision was announced.