CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 17 November 2018

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Australian lawyer barred from entering Philippines

MANILA (UCAN): Philippine authorities barred retired Australian law professor, 84-year-old Gill Boehringer, from entering the country claiming he allegedly joined “illegal political activities” during previous visits to Manila.
 
He was detained by immigration officials detained at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport when he arrived from China on August 8.
 
Boehringer is reportedly on the immigration bureau’s blacklist because he allegedly joined political rallies last year as well as a fact-finding and solidarity mission in Mindanao in February.
 
Three foreign Methodist missionaries were deported from the Philippines last month for going on the same trip.
 
Boehringer denied joining political rallies to attack the government. 
 
“I was never part of any anti-government demonstration,” he said, adding that his interest in the Philippines is “to study the life of the tribal people and of course visit my wife,” he said.
 
Boehringer is married to a Filipino woman from Mindanao whom he met in 2015. “I need to see my wife because she cannot fly to Australia yet,” he explained.
 
Immigration spokesperson, Dana Krizia Sandoval, said that Boehringer was “the subject of an order issued last year.”
 
She said the Australian lawyer was blacklisted following a recommendation from the government’s intelligence sources “in the interest of public safety,” adding that he was “a threat to public order and safety.”
 
Sandoval said Boehringer joined a protest rally in November 2015, a violation of a bureau order that prohibits foreigners from engaging in political activities.
 
Boehringer’s lawyer, Kathy Panguban, said they have already submitted an appeal to the immigration bureau.
 
“He is suffering from illnesses that might endanger his life if the government forces him to travel another 17 hours,” said Panguban. 
 
Boehringer, who holds American and Australian citizenship, first went to the Philippines as a United States naval officer in 1955. 
 
He retired as dean of Sydney’s Macquarie University and returned to the Philippines in 2006 to do research on the Philippine-American War. 
 
In 2015, when three tribal leaders were killed in Mindanao, he was invited to join as an observer on a fact-finding mission.
 
Church and rights groups have expressed support for Boehringer and called on the government to stop his deportation. 

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