Australian missionary Sister Patricia Anne Fox on Thursday, July 19, was ordered by the Board of Commissioners (BOC) of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to be deported and blacklisted, barring her from ever returning to the Philippines.
The BOC, composed of Commissioner Jaime Morente, Associate Commissioner J. Tobias Javier and OIC Associate Commissioner Marc Red Marinas, ruled that Fox violated Philippine immigration laws and was found to be an undesirable alien after thorough review and deliberation.
“The BOC found that her actions are inimical to the interest of the state. The Bureau has ordered her [Fox’s] deportation to Australia, and the inclusion of her name in the BI’s blacklist, barring her re-entry into the country,” Sandoval stated.
The BI, in its resolution, noted that Fox was granted a missionary visa on July 21, 2016 valid until September 5 of this year “with a limitation that she will render her missionary work in Barangay Amihan, Quezon City.”
However, the BI said “Fox engaged and interfered in political activities from north (Tarlac) to south (South Cotabato) of the Philippines. She works outside of her community.”
“Fox violated the limitation and condition of her missionary visa which allowed her to engage in missionary/religious work, not political activities, in the Philippines. Her presence in the country poses a risk to public interest,” the BI added.
Foreign missionaries in the country must be directly and exclusively engaged in religious work in the Philippines. They must not engage in partisan political activity or in any endeavor not consistent with their religious or missionary vocation, the BI added.
Allowing Fox to participate in rallies, according to BI, would open floodgates for other aliens to join rallies to the detriment of public peace and order.
“Sister Fox was found to have violated immigration laws. When foreigners violate our Immigration laws, the law must be applied and enforced, in the same manner that Filipinos must follow immigration laws when they are in another country,” Sandoval said, explaining that there is no crackdown of foreign missionaries in the country.
“We welcome the presence of foreign missionaries in the Philippines, but, as with any alien staying in our country, they must respect and follow our laws,” she added.
Fox, for her part, told reporters that she was disappointed in the ruling.
“Well of course, I’m disappointed, but that’s the order, and we’ll look at what we can do about it,” she said in a phone interview with PNA on Thursday.
When asked if she will appeal the order, the 71-year old nun replied: “That was the plan. I’ll talk to the lawyers tomorrow, probably.”
One of her legal counsels, lawyer Maria Sol Taule, said they were ‘dismayed’ because they articulated their position in the counter affidavit and memorandum on the deportation case.
“Sister Pat did not engage in political activities. She is doing her missionary work here.
Again, we will exhaust all remedies available to us,” Taule said.
Fox’s camp in a statement added, “President Duterte and the BI have no basis to say that Sr. Pat is an undesirable alien, unless their definition of undesirability is helping the poor.”