Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Immigration bureau orders release of Australian nun

Immigration bureau orders release of Australian nun

Fox was apprehended on Monday pursuant to a mission order issued by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration due to reports that she violated the conditions of her stay by engaging in political activities and anti-government demonstrations.

Australian missionary Sister Patricia Fox gestures as she is interviewed by reporters after she was released from custody at the Bureau of Immigration in Manila, Philippines on Tuesday, April 17, 2018.

A 71-year-old Australian nun was held by police in the Philippines for 22 hours, accused of involvement in political activities, in what is seen as part of a clampdown on foreigners instigated by President Rodrigo Duterte.

She has served as a missionary in the Philippines for 27 years, working especially with indigenous people and impoverished farmers.

Mindanao has always been plagued by conflict, as successive governments have launched military crackdowns against Communist insurgencies, as well as Islamist organisations.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said it was told the arrest was because she was deemed an "undesirable alien" for joining protest rallies in Davao Oriental in Mindanao earlier in April. Her arrest was based on a mission order issued by Commissioner Jaime Morente.

Cesar Santos, head of the legal division, said in his recommendation that it is improper for Fox to be a subject of an inquest proceedings as she was not caught in the act of violating any immigration laws.

The country's immigration commissioner, Jaime Morente, recommended Fox be released after it was confirmed she had a valid missionary visa.

Fox, according to BI, submitted her passport along with the other immigration documents showing she was issued her visa on October 15 previous year and that it will expire on September 9, 2018.

Fox was arrested a day after the BI barred from entering the country Party of European Socialists Deputy Secretary-General Giacomo Filibeck, also for being critical to the government. "I haven't attended rallies for politics, but for human rights", Fox told the local media after her release. "Gabriela joins the mounting call for her immediate release", Brosas said.

Sister Fox had been involved with human rights missions in Mindanao in the country's troubled southern region, looking into the plight of indigenous people and farmers, leftwing lawmakers said, nearly a year after President Rodrigo Duterte imposed martial law on the southern island of Mindanao.

"The immigration department is barking (up) the wrong tree on this one. Sis". She has always been in the Philippines helping the poorest of the poor'. Pat Fox had a good standing status both in Australia and in the Philippines.

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