Australian activist nun’s visa downgraded

This photo taken on April 28, 2018, shows Australian nun Patricia Fox gesturing during an interview at her residence in Manila.

Manila: The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has downgraded Sister Patricia Fox’s entry documents from a missionary visa to “Temporary Visitor,” a move seen as the government’s latest attempt to keep the activist nun out of the country.

In an order signed on October 24, the 71-year-old Australian was given a temporary visitor status with a 59-day validity.

She had been staying in the country as a missionary for the poor for the past 27 years until the government took note of her presence during rallies and attempted to deport her several times.

According to Dana Krizia Sandoval, spokesperson of the Bureau of Immigrations, Fox was required to downgrade following the denial of the extension of her Missionary Visa.

“Downgrading reverted her status to a temporary visitor, and she is given 59 days from the day her missionary visa expired, which was September 5,” she said.

Marking down Fox’s entry document from the status of a missionary visa means that her status will be like that of any other foreign visitor to the country and could be deported at the expiration of her stay unless she is given an extension on her stay.

Nun detained

The issue over Fox’s status in the country had been the subject of a tug of war between the religious sector, who wants her to stay, and the government, who wants her out because she was allegedly engaging in “partisan political activity.”

In April, Fox, who belongs to the Notre Dame de Sion religious order, was detained by the government for several hours for allegedly taking part in a demonstration.

The government had argued that the policy of the government against foreigners taking part in partisan political activity was not particular to the current administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, but was a carry-over policy from the past dispensation under President Benigno Aquino III.

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