Australian Roman Catholic nun Sister Patricia Fox, second from left, is hugged by supporters following a mass hours before her departure for Australia Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, in Manila, Philippines. Sister Fox decided to leave after 27 years in the country after the Immigration Bureau denied her application for the extension of her visa. The Philippine immigration bureau has ordered the deportation of Fox who has angered the president by joining anti-government rallies.
AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
Hours before departure, Sister Fox tells Duterte to listen to the poor
Ian Nicolas Cigaral (philstar.com) - November 3, 2018 - 2:53pm

MANILA, Philippines — After six months of fighting deportation, the Australian nun who is set to leave the country after she angered President Rodrigo Duterte has a farewell message for the Philippine leader: Listen to the cries of the poor.

Patricia Fox, 71, has been ordered by the Bureau of Immigration to leave the country by Saturday after authorities rejected her request for a tourist visa extension.

Fox spent nearly three decades helping the poor and fighting for land rights in tribal communities in the Philippines. The Immigration bureau in May ordered the forfeiture of her missionary visa for allegedly engaging in political activities in the country.

After exhausting all legal means, the Melbourne native nun said she would return to her home country rather than face arrest and be expelled.

In her final hours on Philippine soil, Fox told a press conference Saturday that she’s still puzzled why Duterte hates her.

She also expressed disappointment over the people who religiously followed Duterte and lamented the “lack of integrity” of some state institutions.

“Until now I don’t know why Digong doesn’t like me,” the soft-spoken Fox fluently said in Filipino, eliciting laughter from the audience.

“I hope he (Duterte) listens to the cries of the minority. He should pay attention to and act on the plight of the urban poor, farmers, workers and indigenous people—and not just listen to the concerns of the military and business people,” she added.

Duterte, who has strongly rejected criticisms of his human rights record, accused Fox of having a “shameful mouth” and of treating the Philippines like a “mattress to wipe your feet.”

Fox apparently earned the ire of hypersensitive Duterte by taking part in a fact-finding mission in April to probe reported rights abuses committed by state forces against farmers in the insurgency-plagued region of Mindanao.

She also reportedly met with farmers in Duterte’s hometown of Davao City after they were arrested on charges of possessing explosives.

Fox, a former lawyer in Melbourne, dedicated her time in the country educating Filipino workers and farmers about their rights. She said she might return to the Philippines once Duterte finishes his six-year term in 2022.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told the Agence France-Presse that Fox has to leave the Philippines because her visa will expire, even though the deportation case against her is not resolved.

"If Sister Fox eventually wins, her name will be removed from the immigration blacklist and she may return to the Philippines," he said.

PATRICIA FOX RODRIGO DUTERTE
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