CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 17 November 2018

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Sister Fox denied extension of missionary visa

Hong Kong (SE): The Philippine Bureau of Immigration denied Australian Sister Patricia Fox an extension of her missionary visa which expires on September 5, according to a CBCP News  report. She sought the issuance of another missionary visa after it expired on September 5.
 
The 72-year-old superior of the congregation of Our Lady of Sion in the Philippines has worked in the Philippines for 27 years, but ran afoul of the president, Rodrigo Duterte, who branded her an undesirable alien for allegedly joining in political rallies and supposedly violating the conditions of her visa.
 
In a two-page order issued on September 13, the Bureau of Immigration denied Sister Fox’s request for extension citing its July 19 deportation order.
 
“Our legal team saw that approving the extension of her missionary visa will be inconsistent with the findings cited in her deportation order,” spokesperson, Dana Krizia Sandoval, said.
 
CBCP News reported that the bureau defended its decision by saying Sister Fox had already spent 27 years in the country as a missionary and that, based on the Memorandum of Agreement with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, “foreign missionaries stay in the country for only 10 years.”
 
Sandoval said, “She is required to apply for the downgrading of her visa within 15 days from receipt of the denial order,” added that this would revert her status to a temporary visitor’s visa with a 59-day validity “starting from the date of the expiry of her missionary visa.”
 
However, the Bureau of Immigration’s deportation order was temporarily stalled after Sister Fox filed a motion for reconsideration before the Department of Justice (Sunday Examiner, July 29).
 
Justice secretary, Menardo Guevarra, said the deportation order will have to await the Department of Justice’s resolution on the appeal.
 
CBCP News reported Sandoval as saying the bureau may grant Sister Fox a Temporary Visitor’s Visa upon downgrading, without prejudice to the resolution of her appeal to the Department of Justice on her deportation.

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