The Bureau of Immigration (BI) rejected the request of Australian missionary Sister Patricia Fox for the extension of her missionary visa.
BI Spokesperson Dana Krizia Sandoval said BI denied the request in a two-page order signed Thursday, citing the deportation order that was previously issued against the Catholic nun.
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“The BI already saw that Sister Fox violated the conditions of her stay and is considered undesirable, hence, a deportation order was previously issued against her,” Sandoval said in a statement on Sunday. “Our legal team saw that approving the extension of her missionary visa will be inconsistent with the findings cited in her deportation order.”
The petition was filed by the Superior of the Religieuse de Notre Dame de Sion, Inc.
The BI noted that Fox had already spent 27 years in the country as a missionary, which means that she has already exceeded the prescribed length of stay of missionaries stipulated in the memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the BI and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
Based on the MOA, foreign missionaries can stay in the country for only 10 years.
Sandoval said Fox has to apply for the downgrading of her visa.
“Downgrading will 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,” she added.
Fox has a pending appeal on her deportation at the Department of Justice (DOJ).
She said the BI “still needs to wait for the decision before acting on the deportation,” but clarified that they may grant Fox a Temporary Visitor’s Visa upon downgrading, without prejudice to the resolution of her appeal to the DOJ.
Sought for a comment, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra echoed Sandoval’s remarks.
“The denial of Sister Fox’s request for extension of her missionary visa is consistent with the BI’s order of deportation, which is on appeal at the DOJ. I understand though that Sister Fox is given an opportunity to apply instead for a temporary visitor’s visa,” Guevarra said in a text message. (With reports from Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)