Fox back to her propoor mission | Inquirer News

Fox back to her propoor mission

/ 05:41 AM June 27, 2018

SAN PEDRO CITY — The Australian nun, who is fighting deportation after angering President Rodrigo Duterte for her alleged partisan political activities, has returned to what she has been doing in most of her 27-year stay in the Philippines — working with the poor.

Sister Patricia Fox, 71, visited farmers fighting for a 327-hectare land in Dasmariñas City, Cavite province, on Sunday.

Fox was in a disputed land known as Lupang Ramos at Barangay Langkaan I to hear Mass and declare her solidarity with at least 300 farmers and members of the group Katipunan ng mga Lehitimong Magsasaka at Mamamayan sa Lupang Ramos, who are waging a battle to keep the land covered by agrarian reform.


The Supreme Court, in a 2011 ruling, declared the land to be exempted from agrarian reform.


The group of farmers invited Fox after tension broke early this month between the farmers and a group of supposedly land agents.


Fox’s visit to the farmers was her first encounter with what she considered to be her constituency after the Department of Justice (DOJ) gave her a reprieve, reversing a ruling by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) canceling her missionary visa and reclassifying it to tourist.

The BI move would have resulted in the immediate deportation of Fox because her humanitarian work would have been violations of the terms of a tourist visa.

Fox’s visit to the Cavite farmers brought her closer to the fight for agrarian reform, which Mr. Duterte repeatedly vowed to carry out starting with land in Boracay.

In April, immigration officials arrested and detained Fox on orders of Mr. Duterte to investigate the nun for political activities.


Visa cancellation and deportation proceedings, however, hang “like a Damocles’ sword” over the nun, according to Solidarity with the Poor, a church network supporting Fox.

Church’s role

Asked whether she felt scared that her activities might affect her case, Fox said in a telephone interview, “Not really.”

“The role of the Church is to serve the people,” she said.

She said all she did was hear Mass for the farmers “claiming the land and that they were being harassed.”

Fox said she just talked “mostly about solidarity, that I support their struggle” during her visit to the Cavite farmers.

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Nadja de Vera, media officer of Solidarity with the Poor, said the DOJ had allowed Fox to continue carrying out her duties as a missionary, pending the resolution of her case. —Maricar Cinco

TAGS: Patricia Fox, Rodrigo Duterte

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