Political prisoners call the revocation of Sr. Pat’s missionary visa as “anti-Filipino”

“She speaks our language by heart,” said political prisoners (PPs) in Taguig City Jail, SICA-1 in a statement. The political detainees expressed their dismay on the Bureau of Immigration’s decision to revoke the missionary visa of Sr. Patricia Fox, citing evidence of her alleged political activities which include her support for the release of political prisoners.

“Sr. Pat is a rights advocate who has worked alongside the poor. Seeing the struggle and the violations against marginalized communities, it is inevitable for her to find out that many farmers and indigenous peoples are being wrongly imprisoned for the defense of their land and communities. This is how she has come to know and support our struggle. We are grateful that people like Sr. Pat have taken our cause, while those in power work ever so tirelessly to criminalize and jail more from the poor,” explained the PPs in the said statement.

PPs from the New Bilibid Prison and Taguig City Jail condemned the Duterte regime’s efforts to expel Sr. Pat from the country, specifically within 30 days, and called such maneuvers as “anti-Filipino.” They emphasized that the years that the 71-year-old missionary has spent in the country has been for advocating for the rights of marginalized sectors, particularly farmers and indigenous peoples -- something that those in government have never bothered to do.

“She is more Filipina and a patriot than Duterte and his minions in government,” the statement read, adding the irony of the government’s preoccupation to persecute foreigners who are doing so much to advance the struggle of the poor while those foreign investors who come in to plunder our natural resources and exploit the country’s cheap labor are being welcomed with open arms. The PPs also scored the government’s continued silence and complicity over the blatant violations on our territorial rights in the West Philippine Sea.

“We salute her 27 years of service to the Filipino people and her selfless dedication to the struggle of peasants for land and the rights of workers for jobs and living wage. We feel a very strong connection with her and her advocacy for the release of all political prisoners and their struggle against abuses in prison. She abandoned the comforts of life, chose to work in a third world country and cultivated a life of simplicity among the poor,” the PPs said, noting that this is the kind of life worthy of emulation, not persecution.

Political detainees joined their voices in support of Sr. Pat, amplifying the call to let her stay in the country. “We therefore join Sr. Pat in this fight against the government’s political persecution of church people and foreign nationals who support the people’s aspiration for land, jobs, living wage, and other democratic rights,” the statement ended.