25 May 2018
Daisy Arago
CTUHR Executive Director
Tel # 0916248 4876 / 4110256

BI’s denial of Sr Pat Fox’s petition to remain in the Philippines, another affront to the poor, plain hypocrisy

The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTHUR) decries the Bureau of Immigration’s (BI) denial of Sister Pat Fox’s petition to remain in the Philippines as another affront to the poor. For the good 27 years that she is in the country, she embraced the Filipino poor, notably the farmers, the Lumads and even the workers and the cause that they wage more than other Filipinos did and continue doing.

The Philippine government is expected to get irated not on the foreign missionary who serves and keeps the hope of people neglected by government service sans comfort, but instead keeps mum to foreign powers encroaching the Philippine territory with its might and money. The Duterte administration is highly tolerant and highly protective to multinational corporations that not only plunder resources but treat their workers as slaves, but utterly sensitive to those who questioned why plunder continues under his watch.

CTUHR considers the government decision to send back Sr Pat Fox to Australia on alleged involvement in ‘political activity’ not just as a lame excuse but a plain hypocrisy. It is yet another proof that the administration can and will pull all levers in the government in an attempt to silence its critics. The BI’s decision sets a dangerous precedent as it can be use against other foreign nationals who calls for an end to human rights violations in the Philippines. If the motive is warning advocates from all over the world to show their concern about extrajudicial killings and other violations in the Philippines, then the government is mistaken because human rights defenders cannot be silenced. Human rights work and promotion do not have nationalities.

But it is indeed painful that the government wants her out, and out immediately. Sr Pat has supported the workers in its many journeys. She is instrumental in shaping what is now the Catechism of Labor that Church People and Workers Solidarity (CWS) and its member organizations nationwide (including CTUHR) is using. She has championed the cause of distressed farmers, Lumads and workers with courage and simplicity. Her commitment to justice and freedom clouds and will definitely embarrassed those whose demagoguery brought them to power. #