Progressive lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Wednesday filed a bill seeking to grant Filipino citizenship to embattled Australian missionary Sister Patricia Fox.
In House Bill 7806, the seven-member Makabayan Bloc urges the chamber to confer Filipino citizenship to Fox in recognition of her sacrifices in her almost three decades service to the people of the Philippines.
“For 27 years, Sister Pat lived with and served the farmers, indigenous peoples and other marginalized people in the communities. By living with the poor and oppressed, Sr. Pat has come to understand, experience and embrace the culture and the struggle of the poor Filipino majority,” the bill reads.
“Not only that she speaks their language, Sister Pat was accepted by the Filipino communities and was treated as one of their own because she lives and struggles with them,” it added.
Fox came to national attention after the Bureau of Immigration (BI) arrested and detained her, allegedly due to “disorderly conduct” and for participating in partisan political activities.
The BI in April issued an order cancelling Fox’s missionary visa and directing her to leave the Philippines.
Fox appealed the order, but the BI, in May 17, denied her pleading and dismissed her claims of lack of due process and evidence in the forfeiture of her missionary visa as well as in her supposed participation in partisan political activities prohibited of foreigners.
“Instead of prosecuting and deporting Sister Pat through false charges, the government should instead recognize and acknowledge her sacrifices in almost three decades of her selfless service to the Filipino people,” the bill reads.
“Granting Filipino Citizenship to Sister Patricia Ann Fox would be much more than a fitting recognition for her selfless service to the poor and oppressed Filipinos. It is a response to the call of many farmers, fisher folks, and indigenous people whose lives were touched and helped by Sister Pat,” it added.
The Australian nun was supposed to leave the country last May 25 as ordered by the BI, but Justice Secretary Menardo Gueverra said she has until June 18 to do so after she appealed the immigration bureau’s ruling to the justice department.
This article was originally published on GMA NEWS.