The Bureau of Immigration should reconsider its decision to have Sister Patricia Fox deported, the Commission on Human Rights said in a statement Saturday.
Saying it was “saddened” by the bureau’s decision, the CHR stressed it is “not a crime to do humanitarian work and service as part of a religious mission for poor and vulnerable communities.”
“The Commission urges the BI to review its decision,” it said in its statement about the Australian nun released by spokesperson lawyer Jacqueline Ann C. de Guia.
“The deportation order sets a dangerous precedent for foreign human rights workers and discourages them from doing important humanitarian work in our country,” the CHR added.
The principles of human rights “must reign supreme” when distinguishing between humanitarian work “and perceiving something as political activity,” the commission added.
The right to join peaceful assemblies is a fundamental human right, which pertain to all persons regardless of context, race, and nationality, said the human rights body.
“We must take to heart that the protection of human rights of all persons in the Philippines, including foreign nationals, is the duty of the government,” the CHR added.
In a resolution Thursday, the BI ordered the 71-year-old Fox deported for her alleged participation in “political activities,” nearly two months after the Department of Justice granted her a reprieve.
This time, the bureau decided Fox was an undesirable alien and that she has violated the limitations and conditions of her missionary visa.
Fox was earlier granted a missionary visa on July 21, 2016, valid until Sept. 5, 2018, with a limitation that she would render missionary work in Barangay Amihan, Quezon City.
She attended different rallies holding banners and wearing shirts representing different leftist organizations, the bureau said.
In an interview with radio dzMM, Fox said she is not ready to leave.
“This has become my home, so I hope I can say,” she said in Filipino.
The 71-year-old missionary plans to file a fresh appeal to block her deportation.
“According to my lawyers, we can still appeal,” she said.