Philippines Authorities: Allow Sr Patricia Fox to Remain in Philippines
Sr Patricia Fox, an Australian nun who has worked with the poor in the Philippines for the past 27 years, has been denied an extension on her current visa.
This decision, taken by the Philippines authorities, will effectively force the religious sister out of the country she has called home for nearly three decades. And, this is in spite of the fact that she is already involved in an ongoing deportation case.
To repeat: this means that Sr Fox is due to be forced out of the Philippines - against her will - on SATURDAY. So, URGENT action is now required to secure a stay of expulsion!
But, why is this happening to a religious sister?
Sr Fox has been working 27 years with the poor (mostly farmers and factory workers), and educating them on their rights. But, she really gained unwanted attention from the authorities this April, when she joined a team investigating alleged mistreatment of farmers, as well as killings (possibly, extra-judicial killings), by government troops who are fighting a guerrilla insurgency in the southern Philippines.
Shortly thereafter, Sr Fox was arrested on charges of violating the conditions of her missionary visa. And now, it appears as though the Philippines authorities have deliberately allowed Sr Fox's tourist visa to expire without renewal, precisely so that she will not be able to attend her own deportation hearing.
In fact, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told one news service that Sr Fox must leave the Philippines because her visa will expire, though the deportation case against her is not resolved. But, curiously, he went on say: "If Sister Fox eventually wins, her name will be removed from the immigration blacklist and she may return to the Philippines".
And so, from a rational point of view, Sr Fox's expulsion - before her case has been resolved, and so that she will not be able to defend herself in person - appears to be premature.
And, not allowing Sr Fox to remain in the Philippines until her case is resolved makes the state's motivation (for not renewing Sr Fox's visa) look suspiciously like retribution, rather than real justice.
Therefore, this petition, which is directed to the President of the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte, to the Philippines Justice Secretary, Hon Menardo Guevarra, to the Philippines Bureau of Immigration Commissioner, Hon Jaime Morente, and to Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister Marise Payne, simply asks that Sr Fox's visa be extended so that she can remain in the Philippines and be physically present at her deportation hearing.
After 27 years of service to the poor in the Philippines, the least Sr Fox deserves is the benefit of being present during a fair hearing.
The question could be rightfully asked: Is working with the poor on a legal plane, and, even going so far as to join a fact finding mission to learn about alleged abuses of the working poor...are these actions - standing up for and searching for the truth - not consonant with the Gospel message and with Sr Fox's religious vocation?
Thank you for signing this URGENT petition, TODAY!
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Allow Sr Patricia Fox to Remain in Philippines To Resolve Deportation Issues