PCFS welcomes DOJ overturn of Sr. Pat’s visa cancellation

June 20, 2018

PRESS RELEASE // 20 June 2018 // Reference: Roy Anunciacion | secretariat@foodsov.org

 

People’s Coalition of Food Sovereignty (PCFS), a global network of rural poor organizations, acknowledged the decision of the Philippines’ justice department to overturn the previous order of the country’s immigration authorities to revoke Sister Partricia Fox’s visa and blacklist her. However, the network urges the Philippine government to tread lightly in moving forward in the missionary nun’s case as it sets a dangerous precedent to future international solidarity and civic work in the country.

Tagged as being too political, Fox was ordered to leave the country and face deportation for her decades of missionary work with the rural poor in the Philippines, especially the landless and agricultural workers of the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA; Union of Agricultural Workers). Beating the red light, the Department of Justice called off the ultimatum set for her stay in the country as it deemed the previous decision to be “beyond what the law provides.”

Following the DOJ decision, Malacañang spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing in Cotabato that Sister Fox was “not yet off the hook” and may still be deported and blacklisted.

“While we welcome the DOJ decision, we are wary of the Philippine government’s continued pronouncements to still deport Sister Fox. [Presidential Spokesperson] Roque’s persistent taunts show us that this administration is willing to create an example out of Sister Fox’s case – that helping the poor and speaking up for them, as a foreigner, is not allowed in this country,” Roy Anunciacion, PCFS global coordinator said.

“As a coalition of rural poor advocates and organizations that builds solidarity among farmers across the globe, we are appalled by the idea that a government would go as far as attack missionaries helping the landless, effectively creating a higher barrier for solidarity work,” Anunciacion added.

The global rural poor network also previously slammed the Philippine government’s efforts to “shun criticisms from the international community on many pressing issues such as landlessness and attacks against the rural communities” and called Sister Fox’s case as a part of the “crackdown against critics extending to foreign internationals”.

“We reiterate our call to all peoples of the world to support Sister Fox in her fight to continue solidarity work for the rural poor in the Philippines. We are one with her in voicing out the woes of the landless farmers and their call for social justice. Let us condemn this vulgar acts of intimidation and harassment of the Duterte administration,” Anunciacion said. ###

 

(Photo by Michael Varcas, from Philippine Star)