NOT AN ‘UN­DE­SIR­ABLE ALIEN’

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - LETTERS -

There is only a week left be­fore Aus­tralian nun Sis­ter Pa­tri­cia Fox’s stay in the Philip­pines will be con­sid­ered un­doc­u­mented with her mis­sion­ary visa down­graded to a tourist visa. The Bureau of Im­mi­gra­tion has or­dered her to leave the coun­try by May 25 for be­ing an “un­de­sir­able alien” who “in­ter­feres” in the po­lit­i­cal af­fairs of the Philip­pines.

Sis­ter Pat’s case is only one of the many modes of the re­ac­tionary char­ac­ter of the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion in sti­fling dis­sent. Sis­ter Pat stayed in the Philip­pines for 27 years es­pous- ing self­less­ness in pur­suit of her no­ble mis­sion to help poor Filipinos. She did not come to the Philip­pines aim­ing for a leisurely life as a tourist but went to the most re­mote and poor­est ar­eas where poor farm­ers, work­ers, indige­nous peo­ple, and the ur­ban poor con­tinue to strug­gle.

By declar­ing Sis­ter Pat as an “un­de­sir­able alien,” Pres­i­dent Duterte, in ef­fect, is im­ply­ing that it is un­de­sir­able to help the poor and marginal­ized. He has a twisted con­cept of “sovereignty.” While he in­vokes “sovereignty” in the is­sue of Sis­ter Pat’s al­leged “in­ter­fer­ence” in the po­lit­i­cal af­fairs of the coun­try, he can­not even raise a sim­ple whim­per of protest, and has in­stead of­fered the Philip­pines to be a prov­ince of China.

Sis­ter Pat’s per­sis­tent fight to stay in the coun­try is an ex­am­ple of en­dur­ing strug­gle for mean­ing­ful trans­for­ma­tion. She is a true Filipino by heart whose life is an af­fir­ma­tion of hu­mil­ity, com­pas­sion and love for the poor.

JOHN M. LOZANDE, sec­re­tary gen­eral, Unyon ng mgaMang­ga­gawa sa Agrikul­tura

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