Published: Wed, April 18, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Australian nun with valid missionary visa freed by BI

Australian nun with valid missionary visa freed by BI

Although the prosecutor in charge "found no probable cause" for her arrest and ordered the nun's "release for further investigation", immigration officials insisted on the nun's detention. "The immigration bureau has not said anything on what to do with my missionary visa", said Fox, as quoted by CBCP News.

Mangrobang said the nun was apprehended at around 2 pm on Monday.

Philippine intelligence tags Sister Patricia Fox (center) an "undesirable alien" for allegedly attending an antigovernment rally, her lawyer says.

Filibeck, who is critical of the Duterte government, was also accused of being engaged in political activities.

"If the government is threatened by a 71-year-old nun, there is something really wrong with the government".

Fox, a missionary of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, joined an worldwide fact-finding mission in the southern Philippines this month to look into reported violations of the rights of farmers and indigenous people, Pahilga added.

"Siguro ang kailangan pagtuunan ng pansin ng [Immigration] e iyong mga illegal aliens na nagpapasok ng droga, iyong mga involved sa human smuggling at child pornography, at iyong nasa terror list ng [Armed Forces]", she said.

Fox has been living in the Philippines for 27 years as a lay missionary, "helping farmers, lumad and those in the marginalized sectors". "We go to places where we find them".


"As a religious person I've been joining pro-human rights rallies for the farmers for their land rights, to release political prisoners", she said.

Sister Fox, who holds a Philippine missionary visa, is former national coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines and volunteer staff of the farm workers union.

The nun said her presence at demonstrations "was not a form of protest against anyone in the government but merely accompanying the poor in their struggle". "So if you call it political, I call it part of our duty as religious that we support the poor, which is supposed to be where we're standing with the poor", Fox said after she was released from BI custody.

"This is political", said Bishop Pabillo.

"When has it become a crime for Church people to exercise their right to preach the Gospel and be in solidarity with the poor?" it added.

In a statement, the opposition Liberal Party said: "The emerging trend on crackdown against foreign activists in the country is alarming as exhibited by the harassment and casual arrests of the two human rights advocates, who were not even in protest activities or rallies when taken into custody".

Cristina Palabay, secretary-general of the human rights group Karapatan, said the arrest of Sister Fox and threats against global human rights advocates "are clear and blatant forms of violation on the exercise of people's right to extend worldwide solidarity to victims of rights violations". "She lives simply and works tirelessly with the poor", the group said.

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