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Not an ‘undesirable alien’

/ 05:10 AM May 18, 2018

There is only a week left before Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox’s stay in the Philippines will be considered undocumented with her missionary visa downgraded to a tourist visa. The Bureau of Immigration has ordered her to leave the country by May 25 for being an “undesirable alien” who “interferes” in the political affairs of the Philippines.

Sister Pat’s case is only one of the many modes of the reactionary character of the Duterte administration in stifling dissent. Sister Pat stayed in the Philippines for 27 years espousing selflessness in pursuit of her noble mission to help poor Filipinos. She did not come to the Philippines aiming for a leisurely life as a tourist but went to the most remote and poorest areas where poor farmers, workers, indigenous people, and the urban poor continue to struggle.

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By declaring Sister Pat as an “undesirable alien,” President Duterte, in effect, is implying that it is undesirable to help the poor and marginalized. He has a twisted concept of “sovereignty.” While he invokes “sovereignty” in the issue of Sister Pat’s alleged “interference” in the political affairs of the country, he cannot even raise a simple whimper of protest, and has instead offered the Philippines to be a province of China.

Sister Pat’s persistent fight to stay in the country is an example of enduring struggle for meaningful transformation. She is a true Filipino by heart whose life is an affirmation of humility, compassion and love for the poor.

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JOHN M. LOZANDE, secretary general, Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura

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TAGS: Bureau of Immigration, deportation order, human rights, Patricia Fox
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