American missionary deported from Philippines over ‘political activity’

An American missionary was deported back to the United States from the Philippines on Wednesday, July 4, for allegedly engaging in “political activities.”

Adam Thomas Shaw, an American missionary of the United Methodist Church, took a flight to the U.S. on Wednesday morning, July 4, according to the Philippines Bureau of Immigration (BI).

Shaw was one of three missionaries ordered to leave, with the others coming from Zimbabwe and Malawi.

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) confirmed that Shaw had arrived in Ohio on Thursday, July 5.

Prior to his departure, Shaw thanked Filipinos, including those from Mindanao, for “welcoming me and for giving me a home.”

“A part of me will forever be here left behind,” said Shaw.

NCCP tweeted on Wednesday, July 4, “We consider Adam Shaw and his fellow missionaries as a living example that our Christian mission knows no borders.”

According to the BI, Shaw was deported for “engaging in missionary work without a visa, overstaying, and for involvement in leftist activities.”

No specifics on said activities were given in the BI statements.

BI spokesperson Dana Krizia Sandoval said that Shaw was in the Philippines since 2011 and admitted to having done missionary works without a visa from 2011 to 2013.  She said that Shaw was given a missionary visa upon returning to the Philippines in 2017, which expired on April 26.

As for the other two missionaries, Zimbabwean national Tawanda Chandiwana was deported Thursday, July 5, while Malawian national Miracle Osman remains in the Philippines as of this writing as the BI checks on her status.  She was ordered to leave last June 18.

The BI quoted a text by Sandoval saying, “Chandiwana was caught in flagrante, without a valid visa.  His visa expired already when we receive intelligence information about him that he is overstaying alien, hence the Mission Order (MO).”

The New York Times reported a UMC bishop in the Manila area, Bishop Ciriaco Francisco, denied that the missionaries were involved in any illegal or unconstitutional acts.

Francisco said the three missionaries were investigating alleged human rights violation against residents of southern Mindanao’s Lake Sebu area, reported the New York Times.
Military troops were said to have killed members of a tribal group in fighting last December.

The BI said that all of them were subsequently put on the bureau’s blacklist following reports of them engaging in said leftist activities.

“Alien missionaries in the Philippines must be actually, directly, and exclusively engaged in religious work.  They must not engage in any endeavor that is not consistent with their religious or missionary work,” Sandoval previously said.

The missionaries’ deportations come a few months after a 71-year old Catholic nun from Australia, Sister Patricia Fox, won a deportation reprieve after the BI also accused her of joining political activities.

There are currently over 500 missionary visa holders in the Philippines, according to BI records. (Rae Ann Varona / AJPress)

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