PH orders Australian nun to leave in 30 days

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Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox (C) is escorted by immigration officers during her release from detention at the Bureau of Immigration in Manila on April 17, 2018, a day after she was arrested.

AN Australian nun ordered to leave the Philippines after she was tagged an "undesirable alien" expressed "surprise" at the swiftness of the decision of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) but said that while she may "lose the right to be in the Philippines", she would "never lose the learnings and attractive memories" that the country had given her in her more than 20-year stay.

The deportation order accuses Sister Patricia of openly and actively participating in activities such as rallies, press conferences and fact-finding missions which supposedly violated the terms and conditions of her missionary visa.

"We direct Fox to leave the Philippines within 30 days from receipt of this order", the BOC said in its one-page order.

"I haven't joined partisan political rallies but I have been active in human rights issues", she continued. "It's just so unpredictable".

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Meanwhile, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) called for "balance between protecting the human rights of all and the interest of the nation" in response to the revocation of Fox's visa.

She was arrested on April 16 and held for a night in Bureau of Immigration detention.

"You do not have that right to criticize us. Do not insult my country".

President Duterte's threats were "frightening", she admitted.

"Why don't you criticise your own government, the way you handle the refugees, hungry and dying and you turn them back to the open sea?"

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In a news statement released on Wednesday, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said BI's Board of Commissioners (BOC) decided on Monday to forfeit Fox's privilege of holding a missionary visa under Section 9 (g) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940.

"I woke this morning to hear there had been an order from the BI about my case".

Mangrobang also said that Fox's deportation case is still pending before the BI Special Prosecutor, as she has yet to file her counteraffidavit.

"The problem is the president came out with a personal attack and is very angry, and that's where the difficulty lies".

The order gives her 10 days to lodge an appeal and prove that she is not an undesirable alien. She will also submit a counter affidavit to answer the charges hurled against her.

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"As a Christian, believing that our mission is to bring God's Kingdom to the here and now, I couldn't help but to get involved both with projects, such as training in organic farming, to uplift the livelihood of the farmers, but also to advocate with them for their rights to land, livelihood, peace, justice and security, all universal human rights which the church sees as integral to her mission. I am hopeful that Sister Fox can return again soon and this misunderstanding can be clarified and resolved", Escudero said in a text message.

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