By Leslie Ann Aquino
Australian missionary nun Sister Patricia Fox is leaving the Philippines on November 3.
But Fox’s camp said she intends to come back here as soon as President Duterte is out of power.
In a statement, her counsels said the nun is compelled to leave after the Bureau of Immigration denied her application for the extension of her temporary visitor’s visa and requires her to leave the Philippines on the said date.
“Under the circumstances, she is compelled to leave under strong protest. We will not allow the government to forcibly expel Sr. Fox out of the country given her stature as a respected missionary nun and human rights defender neither will we give them the wicked pleasure of gloating over this injustice,” they said in a statement posted on the Hands Off Sr. Patricia Fox Facebook page.
“Sr. Fox will leave the Philippines with a clear conscience that she has done nothing wrong and illegal during her 27 years of stay in the country. She is and will always be loved by the Filipino people,” it further read.
In an interview, Fox confirmed her decision after staying the country for 27 years.
“I cant do much now,” she said.
“Im really sad…I dont believe they have any grounds to the decision,” added Fox.
Asked if she intends to return here, she said: yeah, if im not in the blacklist I intend to return.
“Early next year probably. I will look at the situation. It depends on the deportation case, I could have a couple of months if I could come back, I will come back,” said the 71-year-old nun.
She said she will miss the Philippines and the people.
“I just feel at home here now. Especially at this time people come out in support of me. Unexpected, so Im grateful to the support. I will miss the life and the people,” Fox said.
And although Fox is leaving the country, her counsels said Sr. Pat will continue her missionary and human rights work wherever she may be.
“She will continue to stand for the oppressed and speak about injustices against the Filipino people,” read their statement.
“President Duterte and the Bureau of Immigration cannot stop her now from doing her human rights advocacies,” they added.
Her counsels said: She intends to come back in the Philippines as soon as President Duterte is out of power and another government more receptive of dissent and who recognizes missionary and human rights work is in place.
“Our fight is not yet over, we will face the deportation charges against Sr. Fox which is still pending before the Department of Justice. We shall continue to defend the rights of peoples and hold responsible repressive governments in all fora,” the statement read.
BI announced that Fox has been granted a temporary visitor visa, which is a downgrade from the missionary visa she used to hold.
The downgrading of visa follows the denial of the extension of her missionary visa, which expired last September 5.