Philippines orders Australian nun to leave, rejects appeal

Philippines orders Australian nun to leave, rejects appeal

Australian nun Patricia Fox attends a mass in Manila on May 4, 2018.
Australian nun Patricia Fox attends a mass in Manila on May 4, 2018.

MANILA: The Philippine immigration bureau has turned down an Australian nun's appeal for the reversal of an order revoking her missionary visa after the president complained about her joining opposition rallies and ordered her to leave the country.

Immigration chief Jaime Morente said Wednesday that his bureau has sent a letter to Sister Patricia Fox's lawyer that advised her of steps needed for her to comply with the order to leave the Philippines in 30 days. There was no immediate response from Fox.

“This order is final and executory. We will not entertain any further motion for reconsideration,'' Morente said in a statement.

President Rodrigo Duterte has lashed out at his critics, especially those who have raised questions about his bloody crackdown on illegal drugs. His administration barred a critical Italian politician, Giacomo Filibeck, from entering the country last month.

The 71-year-old Fox is a coordinator of a Roman Catholic order for nuns called Notre Dame de Sion and has been working for the Filipino poor for almost 30 years. She has joined rallies against Duterte and his government, which has been criticised for waging a brutal war on illegal drugs that left thousands of mostly urban poor suspects dead and for stifling dissent.

Fox's visa was officially revoked because she worked outside a village in suburban Quezon city in metropolitan Manila where she had said she would confine her work. Her actions violated the terms of her missionary visa, Immigration spokeswoman Dana Sandoval said.

Fox is facing a separate complaint for engaging in political activities, Sandoval said, adding that if she is found guilty, she could face deportation and be included in a blacklist that would prohibit her from entering the Philippines even as a tourist.

Fox said last month that she did not regret getting involved in social issues and was grateful for people who gave her support.

"This isn't just my fight. It's like an attack ... on the whole church, the role of the church, the role of foreign missionaries, the role of human rights workers,'' Fox told reporters.

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